Water Crisis El Salvador

Fight for water legislation intensifies in El Salvador

An estimated ten thousand people hailing from different parts of the country marched through the streets of San Salvador today to demand that the Environment and Climate Change commission of the Legislative Assembly resume discussions on a General Water Law for El Salvador.

The march is the culmination a series of direct actions that environmental organizations and communities affected by water scarcity in El Salvador have led since the beginning of July, after negotiations to approve the law reached a stalemate.

The deadlock is caused by fundamental ideological differences from the political parties that make up the commission claims Samuel Ventura, an activist with ACUA , an organization promoting the right to water in the department of La Libertad.

“One the one hand, the left leaning FMLN supports aspects of a bill proposed by social organizations which call for public administration and for prioritizing the public use of scarce water resources of the country”; on the other hand, the right wing ARENA party has opposed those principles and has “instead advocated for the involvement of the private sector in the administration and regulation of the water supply” explained Ventura in a community organizing meeting back in July.

The first attempt to legislate the use of water in El Salvador was introduced in 2006 by the Foro de Agua, a coalition of environmental and social organizations that submitted a draft bill to the National Legislative Assembly containing a legislative framework to publicly manage the scarce water resources in the country.

Government officials at the time dismissed the bill as unnecessary claiming the use of water use was already regulated by different government institutions including the Ministry of the Environment, MARN and the autonomous water administration agency ANDA.    

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