Costa Rica recognizes access to water as a human right

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Within the framework of World Environment Day this Friday, the reform of Law 9849 “Addition of a Paragraph to Article 50 and of a Law was sanctioned by the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado and the Minister of Environment and Energy, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez. Transitory to Title XVlll, of the Political Constitution, to Recognize and Guarantee the Human Right of Access to Water ”.

Discussed for almost two decades, the law was signed from the Tapantí – Macizo de la Muerte National Park, one of the rainiest sites in Costa Rica, whose topography facilitates the presence of more than 150 rivers that supply water for the use of Costa Ricans. . Here, in 1964, the Río Macho Forest Reserve was established, the first area in the country dedicated to the protection of water resources.

The provision that reforms article 50 of the Political Constitution and declares access to water as a human right also establishes that water is a good of the Nation and that its access is a basic, inalienable and essential right for life. For this reason, the supply for consumption of people and populations will have priority over other actions.

President Carlos Alvarado asserted that this legislation will guarantee current and future generations the enjoyment of this right, and recognized the work of congressmen from previous legislatures who discussed proposals in plenary, culminating successfully at this time, thanks to the ability negotiation of current deputies.

“The signing of this reform occurs in a context of national emergency, placing the health of people ahead of any interest. I thank the Legislative Assembly for having approved this historic legislature, “said the head of the government, while noting that the human right to water has been defined and prioritized by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,” but Today Costa Rica assumes it as its own and through the Political Constitution, “he stressed.

Coincident with the president, the Minister of Environment and Energy, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, took advantage of the date to also congratulate those who from the Legislative Assembly gave this fight over many years and to Costa Rica, “for the historic decision at a momentous moment like this one, thus giving shape to a milestone ”.

“This is a great step and now we must march together towards the next step, which is to reform the framework law, the Water Law,” said Minister Rodríguez. “Faced with a scenario like the one we live in due to the pandemic and in the face of the close scenarios generated by the attacks of climate change, this is one of the most important country issues, water supply and wastewater treatment,” he said.

Finally, the deputy Paola Vega and president of the Environment Commission, indicated that “we have to take advantage of the ‘new normal’ to do things differently, move towards a green economy, end dependence on fossil fuels and put into practice sustainable ways to boost economies. There is no other possible way and this time we cannot fail, “she said.

The event was also attended by the First Lady Claudia Dobles; the vice ministers of the Environment, Pamela Castillo; from Aguas y Mares, Haydeé Rodríguez; of Environmental Management, Celeste López and the Vice Minister of Energy, Rolando Castro; the AyA executive president, Yamileth Astorga; deputies and representatives and representatives of the tourism sector in the area.

Along with the First Lady and some hierarchs, Alvarado visited an access window to the Tapantí tunnel, built by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) in the 1960s to feed the Río Macho Hydroelectric Plant. At almost 15 kilometers long, it is the longest in the country and was successfully built, despite the fact that international experts then warned that the work was impossible to materialize, given the geological conditions of the place.

The Pacuare and Reventazón rivers are born in the high zones of this Protected Wild Area. Precisely, from the latter basin comes the resource for human consumption in a significant fraction of the Greater Metropolitan Area, through the Metropolitan Aqueduct. This is fed by the El Llano reservoir and carries water to half a million inhabitants.


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