Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

Law for Integrated Water Resource Management moves forward - FANCA


San José, Costa Rica. Following the approval in first debate of the Law for Integrated Water Resource Management, onMarch 31st, the Constitutional Court moved to constitutional study.

On Friday August 8 finally presented a resolution: one of the consultations was declared as "inevacuable" as several of the congressmen who had originally presented withdrew their support, while the other query found some constitutional friction in only two articles of the draft and a transitory article, which now must be corrected by the Legislature.

The articles 29 and 30, relating to water protection areas and water sources for community use had caused intense discussion but it was clarified by the constitutional court. The transitional article XI regarding the use of land in river protection areas, which had been included at the request of the former government, presented some constitutional friction also according to the highest authority on the subject.

Congress must now correct the items listed in order for the text to be voted by congressmen on a second reading. Thus, the country finally will have an effective and modern Law for Integrated Water Resource Management, which among other benefits contains:

  • The recognition of water as a fundamental human right
  • The public domain of water and the forces associated with it
  • The absolute inability to privatize water supply for human consumption, as well as the recognition of community water supply systems as water suppliers
  • The need for large industrial and agricultural water users to pay for the environmental and social costs of their use, recognizing the economic value of the resource
  •  An efficient and technically developed system to protect recharge areas, underground waters,  springs and streams
  •  A National Water Direction (DINA) as a regionalized institution within the Ministry of Environment, which will be follow the river basin focus and  a broad citizen participation

Freshwater Action Network Central America (FANCA) welcomes the resolution of the Constitutional Court, which finally resolves the concerns expressed by some sectors about this important project, which continues the proposal introduced in 2010 to Congress by the National Alliance for Water Defense (ANDA) as a popular initiative with over 170,000 supporting signatures.

We call on all civil society organizations, environmental movements, community water management experiences and NGOs to be alert about the dark interests have tried to prevent the approval of this fundamental law for Costa Rica for more than 15 years.

Today we are one step closer to the final adoption of a Law on Integrated Water Resource Management in line with the reality of the country, backed by the Constitution, and we are closer to realize an effective implementation of the human right to water and sanitation for all population.