Climate Change


Puerto Rico’s Water at Risk
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The water supply on the island of Puerto Rico is in a precarious state. A boom in industry on the island decades ago is siphoning, and in some cases contaminating, the precious groundwater. Environmental experts and advocates are working furiously to clean up water sources and ensure enough supply for the future. ABC News explores whether that can be done.

Chapter 1: Puerto Rico & Big Pharma
The contamination is very strong…but what are we going to do if we don’t work?
Jose Antonio Aguilar, Barceloneta, Puerto Rico Resident
VIDEO: How Puerto Rico became the US' No. 1 producer of pharmaceuticals

The manufacturing industry is decimating the finite water supply on the island of Puerto Rico. Decades-old federal tax incentives brought manufacturing industries to the island in droves, but left the environment in shambles. Environmental experts explain how the dwindling water supply in Puerto Rico continues to be threatened.

Puerto Rico Exports 19.3% of all U.S. Pharmaceuticals
This photo was taken by Jessie DiMartino at the one of the Abbvie pharmaceutical manufacturing plants in Barceloneta, PR. This photo was taken off the property looking in on a lagoon that sits at the entrance to the campus.
Chapter 2: The Toll on Puerto Rico’s Water Supply
Once you pollute the groundwater, cleaning the aquifer is extremely difficult. And it takes decades, if ever, [before] it will become clean.
Neftali Garcia, Environmental Scientist
Already a water insecure island, Puerto Rico is sharing what’s left with big business, and the effects of climate change are only exacerbating the effects. This is how water supplies have suffered.

As an island surrounded by Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, Puerto Rico is inherently a water insecure region. The effects of climate change are only exacerbating the effects industry on the island. This is how water supplies on the island have suffered.

Chapter 3: Can the Damage be Undone?
It's common sense to actually be able to have clean, good quality water coming out of your tap.
Ruth Santiago, Environmental Lawyer
For decades, many manufacturers in Puerto Rico have been receiving environmental violations that often go disregarded. Now, with dwindling water resources, is enough being done to address the damage?

Residents in Puerto Rico feel that not enough is being done to ensure that their drinking water is safe. Water contamination on the island is not new, especially after the manufacturing industry moved in. Experts discuss the history of toxic waste on the island and how to ensure the health of groundwater.

Superfund sites in Puerto Rico