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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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Quick Info

2.22 out of 5
WWF Country Risk Score
169 out of 248 Countries
WWF Country Rank
Total Organizations: 19
Total Projects: 3
Priority SDGs: Sustainable Agriculture (SDG 2.4)
Increase Access to Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (SDG 6.1 & 6.2)
Water Quality (SDG 6.3)
Water Use Efficiency (SDG 6.4)
Integrated Water Resource Management (SDG 6.5)
Protect and Restore Ecosystems (SDG 6.6)
International Cooperation and Capacity Building (SDG 6.a)
Stakeholder Participation (SDG 6.b)
Water-Related Disaster Management (SDG 11.5)
Climate Resilience and Adaptation (SDG 13.1)
Priority Regions: Negro (Uruguay)
Priority Industries: Apparel
Biotech, health care & pharma
Food, beverage & agriculture
Power generation
Organization Types:
Utility / Water Service Provider
International Organization
NGO / Civil Society
Profile Completion: 73%

Water-Related Challenge Costs

Total annual estimated cost to address all water-related challenges: $173,576,760.00

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

  • Access to Drinking Water: $12,689,499.00 - [7%]
  • Access to Sanitation: $28,760,031.00 - [17%]
  • Industrial Pollution: $9,980,026.00 - [6%]
  • Agricultural Pollution: $91,867,420.00 - [53%]
  • Water Scarcity: $1,350,323.00 - [1%]
  • Water Management: $28,929,460.00 - [17%]

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

Water Challenges

As reported by organizations on the Hub.

Compliance with Local Regulations and Widely-Accepted Standards
Access to Water Supply and Water Services
Physical water supply
Socioeconomic and Reputation
Water Demand and Competition among Users

Country Overview

1.1.1.WATER RESOURCES Uruguay has six major watersheds, Uruguay River, Plata River, Atlantic, Merin Lake, Negro River and Santa Lucía River. All watersheds in Uruguay but Santa Lucia share water with other countries such as Brazil and Argentina. Groundwater resources supply water to some small urban settlements and small and medium scale irrigation systems in the interior. The most important groundwater reserves in Paraguay in terms of capacity are the Guaraní and the Raigon Aquifer. The Guarani aquifer is one of the largest groundwater reserves in the world, covering 1,200,000 km2 throughout Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. The Guarani Aquifer has a storage capacity of 40,000 cubic kilometers. With an estimated annual recharge rate of 160-250 km3 and more than 40 km3 available for consumption, the Guaraní aquifer could supply daily 300 liters of water per capita to 360 million people. The neighbour countries are implementing an Environmental Protection and Sustainable Management project together with the Organization of American States and the World Bank. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Uruguay River and the Negro River have the largest concentration of Uruguay’s big dams, aimed mostly at hydropower generation, with a total storage capacity of 17.3 km3. Large dams in Uruguay include: -the Salto Grande dam on the Uruguay River on the border with Argentina, inaugurated in 1979, with a 1,890 MW power plant and a storage capacity of 5 km3 -the Rincón del Bonete dam on the Negro River, inaugurated in 1945, with a 160 MW power plant and the largest reservoir in the country with a storage capacity of 8.8 km3 -the Baygorria dam on the Negro River, inaugurated in 1960, with a 108 MW power plant and a storage capacity of 0.6 km3 -the Palmar dam on the Negro River, inaugurated in 1980, with a 333 MW power plant and a storage capacity of 2.85 km3 -Other medium dams for industrial and irrigation purposes are located in the Santa Lucia River (Canelón Grande Dam), Rocha Department (India Muerta Dam) and Minas de Corrales. In addition, there are many small private minor reservoirs throughout the country aimed mostly at irrigation with an estimated storage capacity of 1.4 km3.

1.1.2.WATER USE Surface water is the main supplier of water for irrigation (87%), domestic (11%) and industrial use (2%). Irrigation is the main water user by watershed, except in the Santa Lucia River (domestic use) and the Plata River (industrial use). Uruguay is the only country in Latin America that has achieved quasi universal coverage of access to safe drinking water supply and adequate sanitation. Water service quality is considered good, with practically all localities in Uruguay receiving disinfected water on a continuous basis. 70% of wastewater collected by the national utility was treated. Given these achievements, the government's priority is to improve the efficiency of services and to expand access to sewerage, where appropriate, in areas where on-site sanitation is used. Uruguay has approximately 181,000 hectares (ha) equipped for irrigation or about 12.8% of the total agricultural land, 1,412,000ha. The private sector has been the main investor of irrigation infrastructure in Uruguay. The public sector has contributed in some irrigation projects such as Canelón Grande (1 100 ha), Colonia España (815 ha), Chingolo, Tomás Berreta (360 ha), Corrales (3 500 ha), Aguas Blancas (125 ha), and India Muerta. Since 1996, the Natural Resources Management and Irrigation Development Project (PRENADER for its acronym in Spanish) has promoted irrigation techniques and built several hydraulic infrastructures such as small dams and groundwater pumping systems aimed at supplying water for irrigation. The electricity sector in Uruguay has a strong participation of the public sector. According to 2002 data, energy supply is dominated by hydropower generation (51%), followed by crude oil (34%), wood (11%), biomass (3%) and natural gas (1%). Three hydropower plants on the Negro River and one binational plant with Argentina on the Uruguay River generate most of the hydropower in Uruguay (see above under water storage for a list of the dams). The possibility of building new plants is constrained by Uruguay’s geographic characteristics.

1.2.WATER QUALITY, ECOSYSTEMS AND HUMAN HEALTH Major environmental problems are water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal. The Ministry of Housing, Territorial Organization and Environmental (MVOTMA for its acronym in Spanish) considers that water quality in Uruguay is slowly decreasing due to the release of untreated effluents from industries and cities as well as agricultural runoff. In addition, uncontrolled groundwater use can lead to pollution or overexploitation of aquifers. In the Departments of Canelones and Maldonado, overexploitation has cause sea water intrusion into coastal aquifers and bacterial contamination.

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Organizations in Uruguay

Transformar la gestión del riego y el cuidado del agua a través de soluciones tecnológicas integrales. Nos enfocamos en tres pilares fundamentales: 1) maximizar la eficiencia hídrica en la agricultura sostenible, 2) facilitar la compra de créditos de compensación de … Learn More

Asegurar el acceso al agua de forma sostenible para el desarrollo humano, económico y ambiental, es nuestro propósito. Nuestra misión es desarrollar proyectos sustentables de agua para empresas, que generen impacto positivo en el negocio, en la eficiencia del recurso … Learn More

The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) (www.a4ws.org) is a global membership-based network of businesses, civil society organisations and the public sector dedicated to promoting the responsible use of freshwater. AWS Members contribute to the sustainability of shared water resources through … Learn More

Production of chemicals and equipment for potable water treatment and industrial water preparing. Learn More

We make valves. Distribution water solutions. Since 1957, BELGICAST offers the widest range of technical solutions for water control. The aim is to offer a complete range of products and solutions for the efficient handling of the vital resource “water”. … Learn More

To create and implement innovative, environmentally friendly wastewater treatment and reuse solutions for any situation anywhere in the world. System O)) are various certified wastewater treatment solutions in terms of performance by the United States, Canada, Europe, and many others. … Learn More

Deltares is an independent, institute for applied research in the field of water, subsurface and infrastructure. Throughout the world, we work on smart solutions, innovations and applications for people, environment and society. Our main focus is on deltas, coastal regions … Learn More

GSMA Mobile for Development brings together our mobile operator members, the wider mobile industry and the development community to drive commercial mobile services for underserved people in emerging markets. We identify opportunities for social, economic and environmental impact and stimulate … Learn More

The Global Water Partnership (GWP) is a global action network with over 3,000 Partner organisations in 179 countries. The network has 68 accredited Country Water Partnerships and 13 Regional Water Partnerships. The network is open to all organisations involved in … Learn More

Since its foundation in May 2007, HYTECON has generated an established market position within the field of consulting services for water and technical hygiene related aspects, focussing especially on innovative and customer-oriented solutions. A highly experienced team of microbiologists and … 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

El MINAM es el ente rector del Sector Ambiente y la autoridad competente para formular la Política Nacional del Ambiente aplicable a los tres niveles de gobierno, conforme a lo dispuesto en el Decreto Legislativo N° 1013,que aprueba su creación, … Learn More

Sunass regulates water and sewage companies, oversees quality of service standards, settles customer complaints and sets regulated prices. Learn More

A pioneer and the world-leading provider of Drip Irrigation solutions, Netafim is the largest player in the global irrigation industry. With 14 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries, 27 subsidiaries, and a strong global distribution network across 110-plus countries, Netafim combines … Learn More

OUR GROUP PROFILE SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. We are recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 89,000 employees, we operate a network of more than 2,600 offices and … Learn More

Our Purpose: We create a future beyond fossils. As a frontrunner in forest industry, we provide renewable solutions for various end uses. We invest in sustainable growth and innovate for a future beyond fossils. Responsibility is at the core of … Learn More

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Water Canada is an influencer, a networker, and a newsmaker. Our editors and researchers know the industry and the people implementing plans and projects on the frontlines. Thousands of readers turn to us for exclusive, insightful content that speaks to … Learn More

ÁLON connects people and resources to raise awareness, converge best practice and collaboration, to support the transition of industries, leaders &amp; lifestyles dependent on water – towards minimizing our water footprints. “We aim to shape consensus among pioneering Water Ambassadors … Learn More

Projects in Uruguay

The purpose of the project is to generate clean renewable electricity from Wind Power and supply it to the national grid of Uruguay.The project activity involves the development and operation of an onshore wind farm located at 280km north from … Learn More

Project WET is currently active in more than 75 countries around the world through a network of partner organizations that range from small NGOs to major international corporations and organizations. We only go where we’re invited! We work with our … Learn More

This proposal outlines an intended partnership between Coca-Cola’s South Latin Business Unit and TNC, to contribute towards water security collaboratively by investing in watershed management activities and the development of collective action mechanisms in the source watersheds of four cities … Learn More

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