Salvadorans are once again debating a water law that would regulate how this vital resource is used and managed.
The bill currently being considered by the newly-elected conservative legislature would create a regulatory body with five members: one appointed by the executive branch, two from the association of local governments, and two from the private sector.
This bill differs from the proposal endorsed by our partners, the Central American University (UCA), the Catholic Church, and other members of civil society in El Salvador. They fear this arrangement would give big business too much control over El Salvador’s water and effectively lead to the privatization of water infrastructure, services, and the resource itself, disenfranchising average Salvadorans.
On June 14, students from the University of El Salvador and other protesters marched and gathered in front of the Legislative Assembly to oppose the water law being considered. Tensions flared and skirmishes erupted between protesters and police, who used pepper spray on demonstrators. Another nationwide protest against the privatization of water is planned for June 21.
For more on the water crisis in El Salvador, read our past blogs “Renewed push for water rights in El Salvador” and “El Salvador and the Right to Water: Now What?” as well as Tim Muth’s analysis on recent events in El Salvador Perspectives.
You can help. A petition is circulating calling on the Legislative Assembly to pass the General Water Law, the proposal endorsed by our partners and many other Salvadorans. They are asking for our support to amplify their voices and pressure the legislature to listen to the Salvadoran public. The petition needs just 500 more signatures.
A threat to water anywhere is a threat to water everywhere. We know what happens when big business is put in charge of protecting natural resources and the environment (see: Scott Pruitt). Sign the petition today to voice your support for our Salvadoran friends as they fight for their inalienable right to water.
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Here is the translated petition:
We are asking the Legislative Assembly and particularly ARENA legislators to vote for the 2012-2015 Legislature’s proposal for a General Water Law for El Salvador, which establishes water as a constitutional right of Salvadorans and as a resource should not be privatized.
Social organizations presented a proposal for a General Water Law in 2006, and again presented updated versions of the law in 2011 and 2013.
MARN (the Ministry of Environment) presented a draft of a water law in 2012. The Legislative Assembly is currently debating an altered version of this draft that would lead to the privatization of water resources.
On June 22, 2017, the Human Rights Prosecutor and the President of UCA (University of Central America) presented a proposal to the Legislative Assembly that sought to overcome the stagnation of the General Water Law.
We are asking for the support of citizens and national and international organizations to defend our water resources, which belong to all of us.
Last week a coalition of social organizations from the Alliance against the Privatization of Water in El Salvador presented a formal appeal to the legislature urging them to pass a water law to protect and manage this vital resource. The appeal was backed by FMLN legislators, including Congresswoman Estela Hernández of Usulután. El Salvador has […]
One way or another, El Salvador is going to have to get a handle on its water supply. In the most water-stressed country in Central America, over 90% of the country’s surface water, from places like rivers and streams, is not considered safe for drinking. Census data shows that in 2011, some 28% of rural […]