The amb prepared to face the days of drought

The construction of the reservoir, loss control, the purchase of land and payment for environmental services are some of the actions that the Metropolitan Aqueduct of Bucaramanga (amb) has carried out to guarantee the provision of service to more than 320,065 subscribers of Bucaramanga, Floridablanca and Girón.

Archive / VANGUARDIA Given the concern that existed about a possible water shortage in the midst of the drought, the Metropolitan Aqueduct of Bucaramanga (amb) provided a piece of peace to the citizens and reported how the entity prepared to face this period of drought and the El Niño phenomenon.

While in 34 municipalities of Santander and some capital cities of the country the measure of water rationing was adopted due to the El Niño phenomenon, the Metropolitan Aqueduct of Bucaramanga (amb) had no problems in the supply, as it had already been prepared to guarantee providing the service to more than 320,065 subscribers in the municipalities of Bucaramanga, Floridablanca and Girón. As it did? To achieve this, in recent years it has carried out a series of strategies such as the construction of the reservoir, loss control, the purchase of land and payment for environmental services.

The reservoir

The Bucaramanga Reservoir, which covers an area of ​​55 hectares and houses about 18 million cubic meters of water, began construction in 2010, was completed in 2017 and had a cost of more than $330,000 million.

The operations manager of the amb, engineer Jairo Fabián Jaimes Rojas, explained that this work was part of the company’s expansion plan. As a complement, the Rafael Ardila Duarte treatment plant was built, which treats 600 liters per second and had a cost of $49,000 million.

“If all the collection systems we have failed simultaneously, which would be unlikely, the reservoir gives us the possibility of delivering water to users for three months 24 hours a day,” he said.

The Bucaramanga Reservoir has the capacity to hold 18 million cubic meters of water, which would guarantee liquid for users for three months 24 hours a day. Marco Valencia/Vanguardia

Loss control

Another of the actions of the amb to guarantee water is the control of technical and commercial losses. The techniques include those due to damage to the networks, which is why the AMB constantly makes changes to the pipeline. There are also the meters, which sometimes do not work or are manipulated so that they do not measure the actual amount of consumption. The commercial ones are those that refer to those who connect fraudulently. “This control has been very good and we are the aqueduct with the lowest losses in the country. We continue working to minimize them,” said engineer Flórez Rojas.

Purchase of land

Another strategy that protects the water sources that supply the aqueduct such as the Tona, Suratá and Frío rivers is the purchase of properties in the water recharge zones or upper part.

The purchase of land in the upper part to protect the account of the rivers that supply the Bucaramanga Metropolitan Aqueduct (amb) has been one of the actions that allowed water to be guaranteed. Marco Valencia/Vanguardia
The purchase of land in the upper part to protect the account of the rivers that supply the Bucaramanga Metropolitan Aqueduct (amb) has been one of the actions that allowed water to be guaranteed. Marco Valencia/Vanguardia

To date, the amb has acquired 12,276 hectares represented in 247 properties located in Matanza, Charta, California, Vetas, Suratá and Floridablanca. This work has been carried out since 1980. Additionally, Bucaramanga and Girón have acquired 807 and 186 hectares of protection, respectively, properties that were delivered on loan to the amb. These lands serve as seedbeds for native species.

Regarding payment for environmental services, agreements have been made with 40 farmers who protect 400 hectares in Charta. This initiative with Tona is planned to reach 600 conserved hectares and 106 beneficiaries.

 
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