Alert: Shortage of Drinking Water in Uruguay

Location: URUGUAY, countrywide

Event: The U.S. Embassy has been following recent media reports indicating a potential shortage of drinking water across Uruguay, particularly affecting Montevideo, Canelones, and Lavalleja. Media outlets are reporting the following:

  • The reported water shortage is due to an historic drought affecting all of Uruguay that stems from lack of rains.
  • According to most reports, current reservoirs of fresh drinkable water for Montevideo will last approximately 18 days in current conditions.
  • Due to low reserves of water, OSE (Obras Sanitarias del Estado – the national water company in Uruguay) began mixing limited amounts of salted water from additional water sources into its drinkable water reservoirs which has triggered health concerns from vulnerable populations.

 Actions to Take: 

  • Maintain awareness of water supplies in your area.
  • If you are pregnant, or if you suffer from chronic kidney disease, cardiac failure, or cirrhosis, avoid drinking water supplied by OSE, and consult your doctor.
  • If you are taking medication for hypertension or diuretic medication, limit your intake of water supplied by OSE as much as possible and consult your doctor.  Frequent blood pressure checks are recommended.
  • If possible, use bottled water to prepare formula for infants.
  • Monitor and heed messages from the Government of Uruguay regarding the conservation of water.