The water of our country has been permanently threatened, first by the usual predators, the tree cutters near rivers and streams (the law says that 0.5 km. around a tree should not be cut); then came the mining companies, which consume a large amount of water; then the avocado planters, those who ignore that the Central Mountain Range is the mother of waters and now those who see it as a commodity that can even be traded in the future on Wall Street.
Others see it as a way out of the country’s economic crisis, transferring its management and control to the private sector, the dams, even selling shares of the company that manages the hydroelectric plants, one of the few profitable companies in the country.
The other threat is soil erosion, sediment from existing dams, the loss of 50% of rainfall due to lack of storage, and the growth in population demand.
This merits a solution, but what would happen if they sell the dams? First, food security and sovereignty would be jeopardized; much of the water from the dams is distributed for agricultural production, the “owner” who would acquire it, would sell it to the aqueducts and producers at market price.
Water is a good protected by the Constitution of the Republic and by Law 64-00 of the Environment, and in literal b, of article 2 of decree 655-21, which creates the Electric Pact, recognizes the monopoly of the State over hydroelectric plants.
To save water is to preserve the main wealth of the country, it is our treasure, with a value much higher than gold. No privatization recipe, we must invest so that water reaches everyone with the vision that it is a human right, guarantor of other rights such as health, food and dignity.
Seeking money to save water should not compromise this resource, but rather think as a nation that has long-term commitments with all generations to come that would never forgive the alienation of this asset.
For more than 20 years, two laws have been pending in Congress: a General Water Law and a Water and Sanitation Law, as well as numerous diagnoses and the investment that should be made to recover the resource. None of the proposals speak of reservoirs to take advantage of the rains, especially in the areas with the highest rainfall such as Hato Mayor, Samaná, Miches, Sabana de la Mar where it always rains. Both laws are needed, but they should contemplate water as a right, not as a commodity.
If it is regularized, the water would be enough to pay for all the investment made to save it as a public good, even selling it in bottles at a fair price to national and foreign users, but always managed by the administration, never by an “owner”. The investment would be recovered and we would have a country brand.
Laws should consider water as a right, not as a commodity.
Another threat is soil erosion, sediment from existing dams.
If they sell the dams, food security would be jeopardized.