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<< Back to: Member News: ICLEI e-News | issue 8, June - July 2007

Women in Soyapango advocate for quality drinking water

May 30, 2007

In Soyapango (El Salvador), women are advocating for clean and affordable water in their community.

At the national level, water service to communities like Soyapango are currently delivered by a diverse group of providers, which includes utilities run by the state, private firms, municipalities and cooperatives.  The state operator, ANDA, is the primary provider of water and sanitation services, with coverage extending to 172 municipalities out of the 262 existing across the country.  Despite being a government agency, however, ANDA does not regulate or control the behaviour of the other service providers, leaving a significant problem in the quality of service provided.

Water delivery in Soyapango is only provided every 10-15 days, which is not adequate for their local needs. Many families as a result turn to private operators, providing water in tanker trucks and in bottles – that being families that can afford the additional 7.9 percent cost to their family budget.  Women in the community are impacted the most by this lack of water – by working extra hours to buy water from these private operators, by standing in line for hours at public standpipes, and by walking miles to collect water from streams and ponds.

The quality of the water is also an area of concern, with only 24 percent of the population nationally receiving piped water fit for human consumption.

As a result, women in Soyapango are now working together to advocate that water services remain in the public sector, that water service delivery be providing quality water, and that all costs are affordable.

The ICLEI Water Campaign is an international freshwater management program that aims to build the capacity of local governments to reduce water consumption and improve local water quality.  For more information on ICLEI’s Water Campaign, please visit www.iclei.org/water.

Soyapango is one of 25 local governments in the Latin America and Caribbean Region that are currently Members of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.  For more information on ICLEI and its activities in Latin America and the Caribbean, please visit www.iclei.org/lacs.

Source: "El Salvador: Soyapango Women Fight for Public, Quality Drinking Water", Public Citizen, May 2007.