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Water pollution affects all areas across the globe. In this article we focus on El Salvador, a small yet densely populated country in Central America where water pollution has become a big problem. Even though El Salvador is surrounded by other water-rich countries, they face one of the worst polluted water supplies in Latin America. Polluted water is found in all areas of the country. Over 1.6 million residents of El Salvador need to leave their homes just to find and gather clean water to use. Sadly, many families must rely on polluted tap water since they cannot afford bottled water or don’t have the resources or ability to obtain cleaner water.

Causes of Water Pollution in El Salvador

El Salvador’s water resources have been affected by years of minimal regulation and no oversight from the government regarding waste management and deforestation. This is coupled with a cultural attitude of indifference to how these actions affect the environment and water supply. Other climate factors such as rising temperatures and lower rainfall totals contribute to added water stress on many regions of the country.

We will detail each of these causes of water pollution in El Salvador in more detail below.

Waste Managing

Anyone visiting El Salvador will immediately notice roadways, homes, and popular vacation spots littered with trash. This is an ongoing issue in both rural and urban areas. Bodies of water make wonderful hangout destinations, but locals and tourists alike neglect to clean up after themselves, leaving behind messes that are often left untouched and thus begin to pollute the nearby sources of water. The disregard of proper trash disposal by both the people of El Salvador and the government literally piles up the issue of polluted water.


Lack of oversight also contributes to unregulated deforestation and fossil fuel burning, which in turn negatively affect the climate, air quality, and water supply. The quality and quantity of the country’s available clean water supply has been depleted in recent years due to rising temperatures and droughts. This problem will only worsen unless more regulations are put in place, and time is of the essence.

Heavy deforestation in the past 50 years or so has only left about five percent of the land still forested. How does this affect the availability of clean water? The removal of trees increases the rate of soil erosion. Eroded soil can either contaminate water or sediment build up can create blocks in bodies of water, depleting the supply. Not only does this affect water, but also farmable land used in agriculture. All these issues contribute to growing water scarcity in many areas.

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Commercial Exploitation

Corporations in El Salvador often take advantage of the minimal governmental interference by removing trees to clear land for their own use. Along with that, overexploitation of valuable water basins, aquifers, and rivers only accelerates the water crisis in the country. This means water or water related resources are drained from these areas faster than they can recover. Just like deforestation, individuals and commercial entities can freely exploit important water sources without consequences, thus creating a much larger issue for the population as a whole.


The population of El Salvador has unfortunately lived too long with apathy about how both corrupt and innocent actions can impact their environment and affect their wellbeing. Old habits are hard to break, but it will be necessary for the collective populace to work together and hold each other accountable to see change. Many El Salvadorians are already working diligently to reverse some of the negative impacts already occurring so people do not have to deal with contaminated water.


Unfortunately, many of these issues mentioned above point to a trend that stems from the El Salvadoran government and their lack of response regarding these problems. Although not all of the blame should be placed on the government, many people in the country want to see more involvement on the government’s part to control problematic behavior contributing to the water crisis. Once more laws and regulations are put in place, many residents may begin to be more considerate to the environment around them. By literally cleaning up their act, the citizens of El Salvador can begin to break the cycle of illness and poverty caused by polluted water.

Solutions to Bring El Salvador Clean Water

A combined effort from El Salvador citizens, the government, and concerned water crisis heroes will help bring solutions to water pollution issues the country faces. With climate change issues already present, it’s more important than ever to address these problems sooner than later. Luckily, immediate actions addressing water scarcity issues can make a big difference. Just like any country, everyone deserves access to clean water, and we can all work together to make that happen!

Healing Waters International is fighting to make clean water access a reality for every person in El Salvador, along with other nations in the area. We examine the unique problems facing areas dealing with a water crisis to find the best solutions to purify water, supply water to all, and educate people on hygiene and how to keep water clean. Get some more information on other water solution projects we have completed in Central America and other parts all around the world to get some insights into how we can help the people of El Salvador thrive.

While it is important to focus on education for the people of El Salvador, we can also look into other water filtration solutions and devices similar to the tippy tap to help clean up the existing water supply and see less sick people.

At Healing Waters, we believe in the human right of clean water for all. We care about making our impact last, so we also provide hygiene education and training so future generations will continue to thrive. Want to contribute? Join our saturate community or contact us for more information on how you can get involved.

We’re on a mission to end the global water crisis. We build holistic clean water solutions and spread God’s love in at-risk communities around the world, empowering people not just to survive, but to thrive – physically, socially and spiritually.

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