Panamanian infrastructure is some of the best in Central America. Roads aren’t perfect but generally they are quite good. Here in David we have seen a lot of repairs and resurfacing. There is more to do, and repairs don’t always hold up as long as one would hope, but they are definitely working on things.
We have heard from others that electricity isn’t always reliable, but here in David it’s been very good. We probably had more outages in Florida than we have here.
Internet is available for free in many public places, and easily available in your home for about half what we paid in the US. It also has been very reliable.
The water though… there have been a lot of problems. In the dry season supplies run low and the water runs only intermittently. In the rainy season if there is a very heavy rain, the water intakes get clogged with dirt and debris. Then, the water has to be turned off for cleaning and repairs. When the water comes back on it’s usually full of mud and dirt, and you have run it for awhile to clear out the pipes.
The water in the bowl is water out of the tap!
But, we are not alone. Many areas have pipes just lying on the ground, often taking water from a nearby stream. If the stream runs dry or the pipe develops a leak, no more water. Water storage tanks are very common so people have their own water supply on hand to cover them for the times when water isn’t flowing.
Panama is working on this also though, and there are many planned improvements in the works. $700 million has been allocated with the goal of having reliable water for 96% of the population within 20 years. When you consider how many people live in very basic conditions and/or in very rural areas, this is a huge undertaking.
It’s not convenient to have water outages, but it isn’t a huge deal either, especially since they never have lasted more than a day (though it has sometimes been out all day for days on end). We have learned to keep plenty of water on hand in gallon jugs for essentials. We have been known to wash dishes and do laundry at 3AM when we discovered the water back on. It sure makes you think about all the countless people in the world who never have running water, and have to hand carry every bit of their water to their homes.
While I was looking for a link about the water improvements, I came across this interesting link about major projects in general that are going on in Panama. As you can see, there is a lot going on in this relatively small country!
As I sit here on the patio watching it rain, with two 5-gallon buckets full of fresh rainwater, I will leave you of this video of the water coming back on one evening. It was unusually full of air and mud that night, and made quite a commotion! 😀