General situation of water resources and water and sanitation in Honduras

General situation of water resources and water and sanitation in Honduras.

Posted by Global Water Partnership, Central Chapter (GWP Central America) and the Alliance for Water

The water resource is abundant in Honduras, it is estimated that there is an availability of 13,776 m3 of water per capita (4), but its distribution is not equitable in space and geography terms. As an example we can mention the flooding in the Atlantic coastal and drought in central and south of the country. Added to this is that the distribution of the population is located in watersheds with less resource availability, such as Tegucigalpa, which accounts for 14% of the country’s population is located in the Choluteca River Basin, which is one of the most degraded.

This affects the population  access to the water resource and associated services, finding insufficient coverage of safe water and sanitation, particularly in rural areas. This situation is aggravated by the tendency in recent decades to a rapid degradation of all natural resources, including water, a dependence on low-tech agriculture hillside, practice uncontrolled burning, increasing agricultural frontier, over explotation and pollution, lack of awareness and a culture of resource valuation, and generally poor planning at the national and territorial level.

In the last three decades has greatly improved access to safe water and sanitation in Honduras, especially in urban areas. According to the Joint Monitoring Programme of WHO and UNICEF, in 2006 the access to drinking water is 87%, with 95% in urban areas and 81% in rural areas. While access to sanitation is 69%, with 87% in urban areas and 54% in rural areas (5). Despite the increase in coverage, service quality should be improved. In urban areas, in 2006, drinking water was disinfected in 75% of the systems and treatment was only 10% of wastewater collected.

In many communities the water service is rationed, there is no recent data on the continuity of service, but the WHO says that in 2000, 98% of urban water systems in the country worked intermittently for a average of 6 hours a day. In rural areas, it is estimated that in 2004 one third of the systems provide a continuous service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The 80% gave more than ten hours of service. The 57% of users claimed to have rationing during dry season. The 88% of the systems did not have a functional hypochlorinator, and only 12% of supplied water systems was disinfected.

In addition to the above situation, it is important to consider the institutional weaknesses and in implementing the legal framework that must be overcome to achieve the sustainable provision of water services and sanitation. In this sense, the implementation of IWRM principles is necessary to achieve improvement in the provision of potable water and sanitation, local and national level.

(4), GWP-CATAC. Water Situation in Central America, towards integrated management. 2006

(5) Joint Monitoring Programme of WHO / UNICEF (JMP/2006)

From: Experiences of Water and Sanitation with a focus on Integrated Water Resources Management in Honduras, published by Global Water Partnership, Central Chapter (GWP Central America) and the Alliance for Water. Editing: Tegucigalpa, M. D. C., in December 2009, Honduras.

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