33. State Policy on Water Resources

We commit to safeguarding water as a natural heritage of our Nation and deeming access to potable water as a fundamental right of all people, essential for life and human development of present and future generations. Water should be used in harmony with the common good, as a renewable and vulnerable natural resource, and integrating social, cultural, economic, political and environmental values. No person, or public or private entity, may arrogate to themselves the ownership of water; the State establishes the rights and conditions of use and promotes public and private investment for its efficient management. In addition, we will ensure the articulation of water policies with territorial policies, conservation policies and policies for efficient use of natural resources, this on the national, regional, local and watershed scales. We will promote the construction of a water culture based on the principles and objectives contained herein, to raise public awareness about the problems of climate change and to make State management more effective and efficient. We will also contribute to establishing systems of water governance that allow informed, effective and coordinated participation of the stakeholders intervening on water resources.

With this objective, the State will: (a) Give priority to the timely supply of water in suitable quality and quantity at national level, for human consumption and for food safety in line with the fifteenth State policy of the National Accord; (b) Ensure universal access to potable water and sanitation for urban and rural populations, adequately and according to individual needs, with an institutional framework that guarantees the viability and sustainability of access; promoting public, private and associated investment with a territorial and watershed perspective, to ensure the efficient delivery of services, transparency, regulation, oversight and accountability; (c) Guarantee integrated water resources management, with technical support, and at institutional and multi-sectoral participation level, to achieve rational, appropriate, equitable, sustainable use that respects ecosystems while taking into account climate change and promoting economic, social, and environmental development as well as social harmony; (d) Protect the balance of the hydrologic cycle and the quality of bodies of water, taking into account: the interdependence of the different states of water and the components of the hydrologic cycle, the watershed as the unit of water management, and that land use and human activities impact the cycle, and so must be managed concurrently considering their peculiarities and according to physiographic regions and eco-climates of the country; (e) Implement measures so the stakeholders involved with the watersheds protect them, rehabilitating and environmentally compensating for the negative impacts generated by their intervention, considering, among others, the combined effect of these interventions, environmental liabilities, the evacuation of waste water and the particularities of each watershed; (f) Create the conditions for sustainable reuse and recycling of pre-treated wastewater, protecting ecosystems and their environmental services, as well as public health; (g) Strengthen the National System for Water Resources Management, its inter-institutional representation and the administrative, economic and functional autonomy of the National Water Authority as governing entity, so it can act as a specialized autonomous body, independently and in a decentralized manner, with participation of regional and local governments, organizations of users and other stakeholders in water management, on different territorial levels; (h) Promote the process of institutionalization of integrated management at the watershed level with sights towards the conformation of  Councils for Watershed Resources, supported by tools and technical bodies endorsed by the National Water Authority, and with a shared vision articulated with the national, regional and local development concerted plans as well as land use planning, within the framework of current regulations; (i) Prioritize prevention and conflict management over water and related topics through decentralized offices and active user participation. A specialized autonomous body of the National Water Authority will resolve disputes in a final administrative instance. If so be the case, it will apply the sanctions required in the exercise of its sovereignty over water as a natural resource by implementing regulations for due process; (j) Strengthen the integrated management of water resources in trans-boundary watersheds, establishing agreements with neighboring countries and supporting organizations created for this purpose; (k) Plan and promote public and private investment in water catchment and availability to: optimize the efficient use and reuse of water, prevent risks, mitigate the effects of extreme events and treat the effluent, and procure future alternative water sources, including desalination, so balancing and regulating the supply and demand of water for its various uses; (l) Ensure the formalization of water usage rights and strengthen mechanisms for planning, managing and funding to cover the costs of water management, recovery of water quality, protection and systemization of watersheds, monitoring disaster risks, the supervision and control of uses and disposal, as well as the construction of hydraulic infrastructure, its operation and maintenance; (m) Ensure the research, recovery, preservation and dissemination of knowledge, technologies and traditional ancestral organization accumulated by the Amazonian and Andean peoples and communities, on the management of water resources, so promoting their compatibility with technology development and management; (n) Promote research, development and innovation and its diffusion through the synergy between academia, business, government and others in the management and use of water resources, and to improve the capabilities of the stakeholders involved at the different levels of intervention; and (o) Ensure transparency and access to comprehensive information for users on the availability, quality and management of water, through the National Water Authority.