Water Crisis El Salvador

The law on the right to water reaches Parliament, "people's lives are at stake" warns Cardinal Rosa Chavez


primopiano 12610Salvadoran Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez, in his usual Sunday press conference, said he hopes that the initiative of the water law that the government will present contains the progress made in the proposal supported and elaborated by the Catholic Church and environmental organizations.

"We hope that it will not remain in the garbage, because it is something highly developed, so that people have water as a fundamental human right", underlined the Cardinal.

In recent days, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele announced that the issue of water will be discussed in the Legislative Assembly and spoke of a particular project.

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U.S.-Backed ANDA Appointment Threatens the Salvadoran People’s Water Resources


On September 24, the government of Nayib Bukele named a new official to head the National Aqueduct and Sewer Administration (ANDA), the autonomous institution charged with the management, treatment, and distribution of water resources nationwide. During the swearing in ceremony, President Bukele showed a video greeting from U.S. Ambassador Ronald D. Johnson, who publicly endorsed the appointment. The new president of ANDA, Rubén Alemán, had been employed for twelve years as an environmental monitoring expert by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Alemán’s appointment has generated concerns and questions about the U.S. government’s involvement regarding the control of water resources.

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EL SALVADOR - Water recognized as a public good and human right, the satisfaction of the Church

Agenzia Fides

8Alianza Contra 1San Salvador (Agenzia Fides) - The Legislative Assembly of El Salvador unanimously approved, with 78 votes in favor and no votes against, the reform of the Constitution of the Republic to recognize water as a public good and human right. According to El Salvador's legislation, after this session on October 15, the reform will have to be ratified by the next legislature and can therefore enter into force from 2021, after the parliamentary elections.

The Archbishop of San Salvador, Mgr. José Luis Escobar Alas, president of the Salvadoran Episcopal Conference, in a video posted on the archdiocese's social media thanks the authorities and expresses the satisfaction of the national community and the Church for the approval of the constitutional reform. According to what was approved by the deputies, the change concerns Article 2 of the Constitution, which establishes that water is a human right. Thus the article guarantees individual and fundamental rights, such as life, physical and moral integrity, freedom, security, work; to these would be added water and its sanitation facilities. In addition, a further amendment was approved, to Article 69, to establish that water is a public good.

In El Salvador, the Church has always been a protagonist in calling for a fair law for the distribution and management of this precious resource of water. President Nayib Bukele stressed this when he was elected (see Fides, 12/2/2019). "For over a decade people have been asking for the urgent approval of a general law on water ... now the same people are tired of the lack of commitment and will to legislate on water", said Mgr. Escobar Alas on various occasions. 

PRESS RELEASE: Citizen´s proposal for a general water law in El Salvador

logo allianza

San Salvador, February 6th, 2020

The different sectors of civil society and the popular organizations hereby represented recognize water as a source of life and a public good, whose access constitutes a fundamental human right of humanity. We also recognize that without sufficient and good quality of water, and without a comprehensive watershed management approach, it will not be possible to develop our country for the well-being for our population. Consequently, we believe it is the State's obligation to guarantee access to this vital resource in an equitable, efficient and sustainable manner.

The dramatic water crisis in El Salvador, in terms of equal access of quality and quantity, is widely recognized and scientifically documented. However, the lack of progress in the discussion on a General Water Law in the Environment and Climate Change Commission in the last thirteen years has condemned our population to suffer the increasingly serious consequences generated by the lack of good governance of our common goods.

In this context, we welcome with satisfaction the decision taken by the current Environment and Climate Change Commission, in January 2020, to reopen the legislative debate on this urgent law.

However, we are appalled at the decision to start from scratch, once again, annulling the important agreements and progress made in 2013-2015 by the sitting Commission. Faced with this situation, the undersigned organizations, who have been calling in a proactive and rigorous way since 2006 for adequate legislation for the management of water in El Salvador, have united around our CITIZEN PROPOSAL of the General water Law.

The proposal contains of three elements: 

  • The articles approved by the Committee on the Environment and Climate Change between 2013 and 2015;
  • A modified and widely agreed-upon proposal for the water management authority with a public nature
  • And, other articles of the 2012 MARN proposal where the principles of water as a common good and a human right, citizen participation and watershed management approach are key.

We ask for your serious consideration and prompt approval as the first step in the fight to remedy the current water crisis, to protect our environment, guarantee the health and well-being of our population, and promote sustainable development in our nation.

Based on article 18 of the Constitution of the Republic, and on the legislative initiatives of the deputies that they support, we request this Honorable Legislative Assembly to admit and discuss our proposal both in the Environment and Climate Change Committee, and in the Legislative Plenary.

Civil society presents a proposal for the Water Law in the Legislative Assembly

Carlos Hernandez - Contrapunto

ley de aguas ESCivil society organizations continue to pressure the Legislative Assembly to approve a General Water Law that would benefit the majority of the Salvadoran population.

Representatives of the National Alliance against the Privatization of Water, accompanied by religious and academic leaders, presented, on February 6th, a renewed citizen proposal for a General Water Law at the Legislative Assembly.

These have promoted this initiative for the last 14 years and are working to ensure that the authorities of El Salvador guarantee and safeguard water as a human right. The representatives of the National Alliance against the Privatization of Water work to support the public management of water resources.

The law, first presented in 2006 by the Water Forum of El Salvador, is a comprehensive proposal that calls specific attention to the problems of quality and quantity of water resources, as well as consumption, demand and coverage. The poor quality of service is a problem experienced by semi-urban and rural communities who experience a permanent violation of the human right to water.

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National Alliance Against the Privatization of Water “Water is not for sale, we care for it and defend it

PRESS RELEASE : National Alliance against the Privatization of Water in El Salvador 

alainza“On the Occasion of the Global Climate Strike”
“Without Water, There Is No Future”

On the occasion of the Global Climate Strike, we as the National Alliance Against the Privatization of Water express the following: The world is in a global crisis, climate change, caused by a system which prioritizes profit over the needs of the people and the limits of nature. Climate Change is devastating the lives of millions of people around the world. Science warns that we will soon reach the point of no return that will put us on track towards a disastrous change in the climate and global warming from 4°C-5°C. In the region of Central America, it would rise from 5°C-6°C with catastrophic impacts on livelihoods, depleting the possibilities for adaptation.

This is, without a doubt, an alarming reality in it of itself – nevertheless, we must add to this global reality a national environmental crisis that places us in a moment of even greater risk and severity. According to environmental indicators, our country is experiencing significant deforestation, groundwater and air are heavily contaminated, and biodiversity is being lost to growing urbanization and an agribusiness that is out of control.

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