Water bill is on agenda for lawmakers to vote today

Lawmakers are expected to vote today on first reading of a bill that restructures the management of water in Costa Rica.

This is the measure that was brought to the legislature by popular demand in 2010. There were some 140,000 signatures on a petition.

The bill would restructure the Dirección Nacional del Agua, which would continue to be within the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía. It also declares that humans have priority to water and that there is a human right to access to water.  Still unclear is what this might mean in practice.

The bill also declares a water table as a unity for management and planning.

The measure was voted out of the Comisión de Ambiente.

Water is a disputed commodity in Costa Rica. Those who oppose private hydro projects claim that use of water is a private taking of a public commodity. A big irrigation pipeline in Guanacaste is facing similar criticism. And there have been public protests in Sardinal over the diversion of water from there to condo projects on the Pacific coast.

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