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Puerto Ricans Learn How to Live Without Water Amid Punishing Drought

As if their ongoing economic crisis isn’t enough, Puerto Ricans are being forced to learn how to live without water thanks to a severe drought that is forcing businesses to temporarily close, public schools to cancel breakfast service and people to find creative ways to stay clean amid sweltering temperatures.

Rationing rules that had meant water coming through the pipes only one day out of three will increase the cutoff to one day out of four starting next week, government officials say.

“I’ve grown fearful of the weather report,” said Cornelio Vegazo, owner of a roof repair company. “There’s no light at the end of the tunnel.”

The drought is one of the worst in the U.S. territory’s history. July was the fourth driest month in the capital of San Juan since 1898, the year Puerto Rico became a possession of the United States. Only 1.6 inches of rain fell last month, and forecasters predict several more weeks and possibly months of dry conditions.

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