On Friday, June 18th, the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly received a General Water Law initiative from the Nayib Bukele administration. Bukele’s water law contains 164 articles, which will be discussed by the Salvadoran congress.
Ernesto Castro, president of the Legislative Assembly, announced that an ad hoc commission will be created to exclusively discuss the issue of the proposed Water Law. Castro promised that before approving the water law, they will listen to civil society organizations.
President Bukele said that he has asked for the Law to be approved in 90 days. The previous water law, which was archived by the new legislature, was in discussion at the Salvadoran congress for 15 years and produced no results.
The proposed water law would ensure that all people in El Salvador have the right to have clean, sufficient, healthy, acceptable, accessible water at an affordable cost.
“I have sent the proposed Law on Water Resources to the Legislative Assembly for discussion, modification, and approval. I have asked the Legislative Branch to approve it in 90 days. They will have my signature (sanction), even if it is modified, as long as the spirit of it is respected,”
Twitted President Nayib Bukele.
Opinions regarding the proposed water law came immediately. Cardinal Rosa Chavez warned that “if the law is not as we think it should be, the fight must continue because people’s lives are at stake.”
Cardinal Rosa Chavez hopes that the Water Law initiative contains the advances in the proposal supported and prepared by the Catholic Church and environmental organizations.
The Water Law’s purpose is to regulate and guarantee the sustainability and the right to water for all the country’s inhabitants. As of today, a large percentage of Salvadorans have no access to clean drinking water.
The Legislative Assembly will create the Ad Hoc commission that will be in charge of analyzing the Water Bill initiative. According to the president of the Legislative branch, some members of the Assembly’s Committee on Environment and Climate Change will also participate in the Ad Hoc Commission.
Nidia Diaz, an FMLN leader, who lost reelection in the February elections, questioned the initiative’s creation.
“Dark aspects of the submitted water law by the Government: We do not know how it was built? Do we know who was consulted? It is not clear how privatization will be avoided? Citizen participation, distribution, and sanitation are not clear either,”
wrote Nidia Diaz.