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Area: 5888268 km2
Brazil; Peru; Suriname; France; Colombia; Guyana; Bolivia; Venezuela; Ecuador
Santa Cruz; Manaus; La Paz
HydroBasin Level:
Baseline Water Stress:
Water Quality Stress:
Sanitation Access Stress:
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City & Country

Water-Related Challenge Costs

Total annual estimated cost to address all water-related challenges: $377,270,032.00

Share of total annual estimated cost to address each individual challenge (2015 $USD):

  • Access to Drinking Water: $75,730,200.00 - [20%]
  • Access to Sanitation: $144,104,337.00 - [38%]
  • Industrial Pollution: $5,551,025.00 - [1%]
  • Agricultural Pollution: $86,399,417.00 - [23%]
  • Water Scarcity: $2,606,715.00 - [1%]
  • Water Management: $62,878,339.00 - [17%]

For more about this data, see information on WRI’s Achieving Abundance dataset here.

Water Challenges

As reported by organizations on the Hub.

No challenges found.

Country Overview

1.1.1.WATER RESOURCES Panama has 51 watersheds, 18 in the Atlantic slope and 33 in the Pacific. Because of its terrain and the narrowness of its territory, most of the rivers are short and discharge perpendicularly to the coastline. The annual precipitation average is about 233.6km3, and the surface runoff is 144.1km3, being split with 60 per cent through the Pacific slope, and the rest on the Atlantic side. Watersheds with abundance of water and potential for river exploitation are the Changuinola-Teribe Guarumo, Cricamola, Calovebora and Veraguas on the Atlantic slope and Chiriquí, Fonseca, Tabasará and Paul rivers on the Pacific slope. The Chagres River, with artificial lakes Gatun and Alajuela, are the main sources of runoff in the regulation of navigation for the annual waterway operation of the Panama Canal (minimum flow 2.8km3). The amount of usable groundwater is estimated at 3.31km3, 87 per cent on the Pacific side and 13 per cent on the Atlantic slope, with the Arco Seco region as having the most intensive use for drinking water and irrigation. The quality of such water is considered good for irrigation and supply. No control is made on drilling or on extraction volumes. There are five dams in the country: -Gatun (427 km2, 5.22 km3) -Alajuela (41.4 km2, 0.56 km3) -Bayano (254 km2, 3.14 km3) -Fortuna (3.7 km2, 0.06 km3) and -Stud (1.1 km2, 0.02 km3) with a total reservoir capacity close to 9km3. The national hydroelectric potential is estimated at 3,568MW (31,247GWh, with 56 per cent in the Pacific slope). The basins of greatest potential are: Changuinola (3,600GWh) Cricamola-CaloveboraVeraguas (7,425GWh), Tabasco Fonseca (7,418GWh) and Chiriqui (4,290GWh). In 1993, the total capacity of electricity generation installed was 912.4MW, of which 551MW were hydroelectric plants. The largest is La Fortuna (300MW), followed by Bayano (150MW) and the Valleys (48MW). The electricity generation in 1997 was 4,050GWh, of which 2,902GWh was from hydroelectric sources and 1,148GWh of thermal origin.

1.1.2.WATER USE There is no data on water withdrawals for different sectors. The National Water and Sewerage Institute (IDAAN) serves the metropolitan area (Panama and Colon provinces), the province of Chiriquí, and the central provinces (Herrera, Cocle, Los Santos and Veraguas). Drinking water is primarily taken from surface water, which is of good quality. In 1997 the volume of water and industrial supply was 461 million m3, of which 380 million m3 were produced and 81 million m3 were purchased. IDAAN purchases water from the Miraflores treatment plant, which is owned and operated by the Panama Canal Commission. This was the federal agency of the United States of America for the administration and operation of the Panama Canal, until December 31 1999, on which date the administration and operation of the canal was assumed by the entity known as the Panama Canal Authority, which belongs to the Republic of Panama.

1.2.WATER QUALITY, ECOSYSTEMS AND HUMAN HEALTH Nationally, plants for wastewater treatment are scarce, except in certain areas of Panama City. These perform primary treatment to wastewater before discharging to the sea. In some plants, the designed flows have been overtaken by increase in the population served, and in others, lack of maintenance leads to poor operation. The discharge of untreated wastewater is the main source of pollution in the Bay of Panama. Return flows are estimated at 394 million m3/yr, with a coverage of 53 per cent of the sewage of the population.

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Organizations in Panama

Missão: Impactar o desenvolvimento sustentável da América Latina criando condições favoráveis ​​para que diversos atores unam forças e contribuam para o bem comum. Hoje, os processos de mudança colaborativa são a essência de tudo o que fazemos. Em mais de … Learn More

Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano - FFLA is a private non-profit organization based in Quito, Ecuador. Its mission is to work towards sustainable development in Latin America through constructive dialogue and conflict resolution, strengthened citizen participation, and improved political and institutional capacities. … Learn More

Somos una organización social, ONGs, Fundación Privada, especializada en realización, diseño, planificación, ejecución, puesta en marcha y control de Proyectos Multivariable, Proyectos de Producción e Inversión social en las áreas de agro-desarrollos y comercialización de alimentos, trabajando esforzadamente para la … Learn More

LAQI is an organization comprised of the leading companies and institutions of Latin America, rating them on issues of Quality and Sustainable Development. LAQI is based and run on the 40+10 actions and directives, and it respects the limits of … Learn More

An agreement created in 2011 between the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), FEMSA Foundation, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the International Climate Initiative (IKI), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to contribute to water security in Latin America and the Caribbean through … Learn More

Projects in Panama

The hydroelectric power plant of El Quimbo continues to invest in its commitments undertaken to benefit local communities. Traditional artisanal fishing is one of the production activities on the Rio Magdalena. During the construction of the power plant, people involved … Learn More

The project in Panama, led by the Ministry of Environment (MiAMBIENTE) in collaboration with the SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme, through the Global Water Partnership (GWP), aims to address the growing threats of climate change on the country's abundant water … Learn More

Starbucks and Conservation International began an assessment of the water component of the Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices program in 2008, focused on 2 stages in the coffee value chain: cultivating, growing and harvesting coffee using methods that avoid … Learn More

This project, a collaboration between TCCC and TNC, conserved 363.47 ha of secondary forest, restored 27.5 ha of forest, implemented agroforestry practices on 12 ha, and reforested an additional 3.32 ha in the Panama Canal watershed. The ecosystem of the … Learn More

The project goal is to support the strengthening of long-term conservation mechanisms (Water Funds) in 11 basins of 6 countries in Latin America, implementing actions in the field, investing in more than 5,000 hectares in priority areas of watersheds key … Learn More

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