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Hundreds of Salvadorans march against water privatization

Demonstrators have marched through San Salvador to demand that lawmakers “move immediately to approve a long-stalled constitutional measure making access to water a human right.” The march was to protest an agreement “by a key committee in the Legislative Assembly to include representatives of industry and agri-business on the board of the National Water Authority. (…) The idea of including private-sector representatives in water management is supported by Arena and other parties ranging from center-right to right, while the governing leftist FMLN is opposed.” @ajplus says “people in El Salvador are fighting for the right to clean water. Droughts and attempts at water privatization could create a new wave of climate refugees.”

Source: www.efe.com

Ten years of gains in public healthcare, education, and social inclusion may well be reversed

Concerns are being raised about what policies toward the public sector the new president-elect, Nayib Bukele, will follow. “Bukele was mercurial as ever on the campaign trail, but his sponsor, GANA, has opposed abortion and marriage equality (a position Bukele shares), and supported water privatization and the death penalty. Ten years of gains in public healthcare, education, and social inclusion may well be reversed, and the current social movement struggles for the decriminalization of abortion and against water privatization may face devastating setbacks.”

Source: NACLA

Campaigners fear the creeping privatization of water

Campaigners fear the creeping privatization of water. “When a local government ruling in the Salvadoran town of Nejapa stopped Coca-Cola from drilling wells in the community, residents thought their campaign against the drinks giant had ensured their continued access to clean water. But that 2015 success now seems under threat after the Salvadoran national assembly recently took steps activists believe will lead to the privatization of the country’s water supplies. ‘They are fragile ordinances, so the companies [are] looking for a way to avoid the local councils having stronger ones,’ said Santiago Rodríguez, a pastor with the Salvadoran Lutheran church who works in Nejapa and the surrounding areas. ‘The danger is that the local ordinances are weakened even more.’”

El Salvador moves forward with draft water bill

The legislature is moving toward a final bill. “Discussion on the bill was suspended for a few weeks while the members of the committee held hearings with representatives of NGOs, business associations and academic institutions to listen to their opinions on the bill.”

Source: BNamericas

Battle for Water Rights Heats Up in El Salvador

The battle over water privatization vs. a constitutional right to water is coming to a head in the legislature with competing proposals. “We don’t want the abuse of water to be legalized,” said Oscar Ruiz, a representative of the United Community Association for Water and Agriculture (ACUA). Together with affected residents, Ruiz recently filed a complaint in an environmental court over a dried-up lagoon in an agricultural community where water-intensive sugar cane plantations guzzle resources. “Communities are practically being left without water.” A key point of contention is over who will control the board to regulate water, and in particular the role of private interests in the Corporation of Municipalities (COMURES). “Many assume COMURES, a non-governmental body currently dominated by ARENA, would select one representative from each of the major parties, the FMLN and ARENA. Critics argue that in practice, the seat for ARENA would secure an additional business-friendly vote, tilting the board in favor of private interests.”

Source: Truthout

Opponents rallied against the proposed privatization of water

Opponents rallied against the proposed privatization. “The main point of contention,” reports El Nuevo Diario, “is the intention of the right-wing parties to include representatives of private companies in the National Water Authority (ANA) with a number of votes that, according to social organizations, would give them the domain of the organization


El Salvador bishops call for laws defending 'human right' to water

Bishops call for laws defending the human right to water, and urge preventative legislation against the privatization of water sources. “It added that leaving the allocation of water to private entities is ‘absolutely anti-democratic.’ El Salvador legislators have begun debate on a national water law. Some lawmakers are pushing for more private-sector involvement in managing water in the country. (…) ‘It is up to the State to be the legitimate guarantor of the right to water for all,’ the El Salvador bishops said in their letter. Therefore, the committee that governs such a guarantee must have equal and strong citizen representation.”

Source: Catholic News Agency