The Slatest

Some Parts of Drought-Stricken Puerto Rico Are Down to Two Days of Running Water Each Week

The Capitol in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Joe Raedle/Reuters

Slate’s Eric Holthaus wrote in June that California, though it’s suffering a severe drought, is still better off than Puerto Rico. The U.S. territory has been enduring a similar lack of rainfall, but lacks the water-related infrastructure that helps mitigate California’s shortages—and is also involved in a crisis over $73 billion in public debt it says it can’t pay. Things have only gotten worse as the summer has gone on, and households that had been getting running water every three days are now down to getting it only twice a week. (That means about one day less of running water each month.) From ThinkProgress:

In July, usually one of the wettest months, the island got just 4 centimeters of rain. Now, 2.8 million residents live in a part of the country suffering either an “extreme” or “severe” drought, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center … Government officials are telling residents that now is “not the time” to wash their cars, fill private swimming pools, or hose down their sidewalks and patios.

Said one farmer: “In the one day you have water, you fill your buckets.”

Not all residents have been affected—the west side of the island is still fine—and most tourist resorts, this New York Times piece says, are served by an aqueduct called the “supertubo” that is still functioning.