Water provision and sanitation facilities in Chile are among the best in Latin America, benefiting from consistent investment in infrastructure since the 1970s and large-scale privatisation of water suppliers in the 1990s. Consequently, over 90% of the urban population have access to clean drinking water, particularly as the water quality is controlled by an independent regulator.
The situation in rural Chile tells a different story. 10% of the rural population lives below the poverty line, the majority of which without access to adequate sanitation facilities. Water pollution as a result of untreated, open sewage also presents a high risk of disease.
- In 2006, Just a Drop supported a community of 500 people in Tortel, located between the mouth of the Baker River and a number of islands, fjords, channels and estuaries. The health of the community was under severe threat as the sewage system was discharging into an inlet at the water’s edge. This presented a considerable risk to the children playing at the water’s edge – not to mention the odious smell! Just a Drop serviced 30 houses in the area by installing a piping system which led to a treatment tank, thereby significantly reducing the health risks and improving the quality of life of the community members.