MEDELLIN — Colombian meteorologists blame weather phenomenon El Niño for unprecedented weather changes, bringing both extreme drought and rapid evaporation of water to the South American country.

Water supplier Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) has announced that citizens in the Colombian city must reduce their water consumption by 10% if local water supplies are to last throughout the dry period expected to persevere another 100 days, reports the El Colombiano daily.

El Colombiano's front page, Feb. 16, 2016

In the Antioquia region where Medellin is situated, summer temperatures have already reached a record high and is set to peak at the end of February. EPM Manager Jorge Londoño de la Cuesta tells El Colombiano that the company is only getting 30% of the water usually supplied and is currently pumping water from rivers 48 kilometers away from the city to keep the tanks from running dry.

To guarantee sustainability, the Colombian government has adopted a resolution that criminalizes excessive water consumption. Since it was passed in December, more than 1,000 people — roughly 5% of the city's population — have been penalized for exceeding the limit of 28 individual cubic meters. The 1.2 billion pesos ($352,000) in penalty fees collected so far has gone to the the Environmental Fund for Watershed Protection.