A week after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, most of its 3.4 million residents are scrambling to find clean water, with experts concerned about a looming public health crisis posed by the island's damaged water system.
The U.S. territory's water woes are tied to the collapse of its power grid; electricity is needed to pump, treat and filter water that shows up in household taps.
With the grid incapacitated, diesel-powered generators are needed to clean and move water where it needs to go. But the island does not have nearly enough generators to perform this work, utility officials say, while fuel to run them is scarce.
Only about 40 percent to 45 percent of the customers of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) had potable water as of Tuesday, company authorities said. Island-wide water service may not resume until electricity is restored across Puerto Rico, which could take months.