New schedule of water cuts for Bogotá in July

By Emma Newbery June 28, 2024

Mayor announces a relaxation of capital’s water rationing, with a new schedule of water cuts now due every 18 days. But the authorities insist this isn’t an invitation to waste water…

It’s been about two and a half months since Bogotá announced rolling citywide water cuts and Bogotá Mayor Carlos Galán says the immediate crisis has now been averted. Back in April, the main Chingaza reservoir that serves the capital and some nearby towns was at 17% of its capacity. 

Months of El Niño-induced dry weather, combined with heavy water consumption, had taken a serious toll on water reserves. In addition to the obvious problem of the water supply running dry, low water levels could have led to electricity shortages. Hydroelectricity accounts for about 70% of the country’s power.

He’s taking the credit, deserved or not

Crisis averted..until next year

The good news is that the Chingaza reservoir is now more than 40% full, according to the mayor’s office. In truth, the recent heavy rain has made more of a difference than the water cuts. Still, the mayor’s office says if the rationing hadn’t happened, we’d only have 106 cubic metres of water in Chingaza right now. Instead, there are 120.5 million and counting. 

The reason for the new schedule of water cuts, and not simply abandoning the idea, is that authorities want to see water levels at 70% before the end of October. In theory, this will avoid similar problems in 2025. As such, the water cuts will likely continue beyond July and into August.

Indeed, water company EAAB (Acueducto for short) says that if people don’t behave themselves and continue to consume carefully, we could go back to stricter measures. 

Learn more about: living with water rationing in Bogotá

A Bogotá tap running to reflect the new schedule of water cuts for July
The taps are going to run a little more frequently

New schedule of water cuts for July

Starting on July 1, water cuts will take place on alternate days. The zones of the first set of cuts are called ‘turns’, but the areas coincide. You can find out when your water will be cut off by putting your address into this online map tool. It can be buggy, but persevere.

As before, cuts will take place from 8am to 8am the following day. As we’ve learned from experience, don’t expect the water to come back at 8am on the dot, and when it does, the pressure may not reach normal levels until at least lunchtime. 

Here’s what the new schedule looks like:

  • Turn 1: July 1 and 19
  • Turn 2: July 3 and 21
  • Turn 3: July 5 and 23
  • Turn 4: July 7 and 25
  • Turn 5: July 9 and 27
  • Turn 6: July 11 and 29
  • Turn 7: July 13 and 31
  • Turn 8: July 15
  • Turn 9: July 17

The authorities are hoping that the restrictions will lead to long-term changes in the way we consume water. To that end, Acueducto suggests taking shorter showers, turning off the water while you’re cleaning your teeth or shampooing your hair, only using the washing machine for full loads, and collecting shower water in a bucket while it is heating up. 

The water company also asks people not to use reserve tanks of water on their day for rationing. However, speaking to fellow Bogotá dwellers, it’s not clear at all how much the cuts have changed our water habits. Time will tell.