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Guillermo Pickering, President of Essal & Aguas Andinas, resigns after the water crisis in Osorno

  • Guillermo Pickering, President of Essal & Aguas Andinas, resigns after the water crisis in Osorno
    Guillermo Pickering, fourth from the left, receives the ALAS 2017 Award (Photograph: Aguas Andinas).

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The water supply interruption that the Chilean city of Osorno experienced for over one week continues to have repercussions. The Chilean company Aguas Andinas informed, through a press release, that the company's President Guillermo Pickering was handing in his resignation with immediate effect.

His resignation occurs after a water crisis in the Chilean city, where on July 11th there was an oil spill into the drinking water treatment plant of Caipulli, which supplies drinking water to about 200,000 people. The water supply was restored a week later, but on July 22nd some analyses of the water in the distribution network detected faecal bacteria in the treated water.

The complaints against the water services company Empresa De Servicios Sanitarios De Los Lagos (Essal), controlled by Aguas Andinas, and the entity's response to affected citizens were enough for senior managers at the concession holding company to fear for their jobs.

The Water Services Regulatory Authority (SISS) decided to initiate a procedure to end Essal's concession contract, and assured a fine worth more than 2,500 million Chilean pesos (over 3 million euros) would be imposed on the company.

Pickering, who left his job as President of the mobile phone company association Atelmo to become President of Aguas Andinas in 2016, was acknowledged by the company, who recognised his contributions and leadership while in charge of it.

The resignation occurs only a few days before the visit to Chile of Ángel Simón, Vice-president for Spain, North America and Latin America of the Suez group, and first general manager of Aguas Andinas when it was acquired by Agbar.

Aguas Andinas informed that on August 8th a new President will be elected, with Víctor de la Barra as president of Essal.

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