“It started raining on December 8, 2010. For fifteen days the narrow Isthmus of Panama received 265 millimeters of rainfall. This impressive amount of precipitation shattered the statistics of the last ninety years. Entire towns and villages were submerged with ferocious bodies of water causing enormous damage to property and lives. The small tourist town of Portobelo is still mourning its nine persons who were killed during a large mudslide.
Rivers swelled like gigantic Anacondas devouring everything in its path. The capacity of Madden Dam was exceeded and the opening of the gates caused a current so strong, that the Panama Canal was temporarily interrupted for several hours. The same situation occurred at the Bayano Dam. In an effort to prevent damages to the turbines, the gates had to be partly opened which worsened the floods downstream. In the Province of Darien and Kuna Yala hundreds of people were homeless and transferred to schools urgently adapted to accommodate the victims of this natural disaster. It was a monumental deluge I had never seen in this country before.”
This is what I wrote on January 19, 2011, after the unfortunate deluge in Panama at the end of the year. Shortly after, we purchased a water treatment system to prevent health hazards. The unusual heavy rainfalls during December, clogged the water purifying filters of the Chilibre water filtering plant. The drinking water was not safe to drink and the water treatment plant was not working at full capacity.
With this water filtering system we averted the severe water crisis in Panama City. Currently, the tap water that we receive from the Chilibre plant is used to flush the toilets and the filtered water is for drinking purposes. We feel much relieved after making this decision.
After a little over two years now, we decided to upgrade our filter, just to make sure we are using the latest technology available in Panama regarding drinking water filters. There are many horror stories out there about people having health problems due to contaminated water. Arnulfo Casas, our water filter supplier, recommended that we protect ourselves with a more efficient filter. We took his word and upgraded our system two days ago. Indeed, the quality of the water is better than the previous filter. There is something in the taste of the water that makes it special. I know that water is supposed to be tasteless, but our water does have a nice taste which induces you to drink more, which is obviously excellent for your health. After all, our body is 75 percent water.
Panama had the reputation of having the best tap water in the region about twenty years ago. I’m afraid we lost our mojo and we now need to protect ourselves with water treatment filters. I’m looking forward that we could return to the high quality of water we once had—la chicha del Chagres. Arrivederci.