Chile Water Scarcity

1590 Words 7 Pages
Extended along the western coast of South America sits Chile, a country placed between the world’s deepest ocean, the Pacific, and the longest mountain chain, the Andes. This geographic predicament has left Chile vulnerable to devastating earthquakes due to the tectonic instability of the region. In addition to an unstable natural environment, societal and political instability have also plagued Chile’s past including the incident of a violent coup overthrowing the Marxist government in 1973. This resulted in years of rule under a dictatorship until 1989 when democracy was restored (“Chile Facts”). Like many other Latin American countries, Chile has faced plenty of obstacles and continues to deal with problems. However, recent efforts have …show more content…
Currently in Santiago, millions of citizens are left without running water for days. Estimates predict that water availability in Chile’s capital to fall by 40% by 2070. In addition, experts warn of water scarcity to spread across the entire country as temperatures rise and glaciers retreat. With increased stress on Chile’s diminishing water supply, people have begun to speak up and demand changes to the laws that privatized Chile’s water supply. In recent years, the privatization of water has kept prices unreasonably high, exhibited poor service, and done little to address the impact of an insufficient supply in the future. While commodification and privatization of Chile’s water began under the dictatorship of General Pinochet in 1981, the nation continued to support water’s privatization after the return to democracy in 1990. Currently, one company, Aguas Andinas, has created a monopoly in Santiago’s water market. This company supplies 6 million of the capital’s 7.2 million people at one of the highest tariffs in Latin America …show more content…
The Water Directorate, a governing body designed to manage water planning, has been ineffective, besides granting water rights to private owners. Views toward water privatization have begun to shift in Chile as larger swaths of the population support a return to public ownership of water. When water becomes commodified, the poorer areas often suffer most as emphasis is placed upon commercial use of water rather than recognizing access to water as a human right. In support of the return to public ownership of water, the Chilean government’s water resource committee has proposed reforms prioritizing human need and consumption of water over commercial use to help those most affected by water privatization. In addition, the proposal would bestow additional oversight powers to the Water Directorate to better control water management and planning. However, the private sector is counteracting against the push toward these proposed changes to water management. Regardless of the impending changes, Chile will continue to face challenges dealing with its levels of water scarcity and management in the future

Related Documents