Nine Maps to Understand the Drinking Water Situation of the Caribbean Coast.

The water scarcity that exists in La Guajira Columbiana is well known. Years ago, news of several children killed by lack of water caught so much attention from the media that different campaigns were being carried out to this department by citizens from different parts of the country.

But how is access to safe drinking water in the rest of the Caribbean Coast? We wanted to find out the current context, and for them, we took on the task of investigating the situation throughout the region. Distributed in 8 departments, including the Archipelago of San Andrés and Providencia, this region of the country represents 22% of the national population, that is, out of ten Columbians, two live on the coast. With this information and, after analyzing the latest data from the National Institute of Health and the National Administrative Department of Statistics, we summarize the information in the following nine maps for public knowledge.

  1. Water Quality in the Caribbean Region of Columbia

Almost eleven million people living on the Caribbean coast have some degree of risk with the water they consume, except the islanders of San Andrés and Providencia, who are the only ones who can drink drinking water directly from the key. Atlántico, Cesar, Magdalena, Bolívar, and Sucre have average risk, while Cordoba and La guajira’s information is insufficient. This data is in the general average with the information collected, but to go into details, you need to see the following maps

2. Municipalities with drinking water.

According to the National Water Quality Report for Human Consumption, INCA, 19 municipalities in the country have unworkable water, with the worst rating given by the study. Of these municipalities, 6 are part of the Caribbean Coast. Zapayán, Bananera Zone, and Sitionuevo in the Magdalena department. San Jacinto del Cauca and Margarita in Bolivar. And finally, Pailitas in Cesar’s department. The 145,000 people who inhabit these municipalities live with water with all the physical, chemical, and microbiological risks to contract diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, polio, and typhoid fever.

3. Bolivar

Just over 1,270,000 people from the Bolivar Department have access to safe drinking water and account for only 60% of the total population. Those who live in Cartagena, Arjona, El Carmen de Bolívar, Zambrano, San Juan de Nepomuceno, and Santa Rosa del Sur, have this privilege.

4. Atlantic

Atlántico is the department where its inhabitants can have the most tranquility to consume water, since more than 80% of its inhabitants access drinking water. These live in the municipalities of Galapa, Juan de Acosta, Manatí, Piojó, Polonuevo, Ponedera, Puerto Columbia,Sabanagrande, Santo Tomás, Soledad, Usiacurí and Barranquilla.

5. Magdalena


Magdalena represents the second department with the most affected by the lack of drinking water. Of its about 1,300,000 inhabitants, only 56% who live in Fundación, Ciénega, El Piñol, Aracataca, and Santa Marta, access the service safely.

6. Sucre

In the Sucre department, only 150,000 people, corresponding to the municipalities of Corozal, San Marcos and San Benito de Abad, access drinking water, 80% of the rest of its inhabitants, no water comes to their homes with some degree of risk.

7. Cesar

El Cesar is perhaps after the Atlantic the department with the least problems in accessing drinking water since 10 of its 25 municipalities have the quality of service, according to the data, Aguachica, Curumaní, El Copey, La Paz, Manaure, Rio de Oro, San Alberto, San Diego, San Martín, Valledupar represent 70% of the population of the department with drinking water coverage.

8. Cordoba and Guajira.

The departments of Córdoba and La Guajira do not have enough information to carry out the analysis. According to the National Institute of Health, it may be due to communication problems with data. The samples analyzed only correspond to one municipality in each department. In Córdoba, the city of Chimá reported an average risk for La Guajira, Rioacha said without risk.

9. Water not accounted for by the department.

Usually, the total water that leaves the service provider is not the total billed by all households since it is widespread that damage and leakage occur in the pipes or, although not common but ordinary, that find thefts to the system. It is accepted that up to 30% of the distributed water will not be accounted for. Going ahead of that percentage, a high environmental impact and economic losses are created. In the Caribbean Columbia, not all departments wastewater, with San Andrés and Providencia, La Guajira, Sucre, and Cesar being the most critical. Followed by Atlantic, Bolivar, and Magdalena. Finally, Cordoba with 1 percent above acceptable.

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