Official: Water law likely to be fully approved by April

Friday, January 16, 2009

Peru's water law is likely to be fully approved by congress by April, a congress official told BNamericas.

The bill was approved on January 15 by legislators, but must be voted on again by the permanent committee, which will resume full functions on March 15, after the summer vacation.

The initiative will probably be voted on as soon as the permanent committee is back, the congress official said.

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The bill, which has been under discussion for about eight years, calls for the creation of a national water authority and establishes responsibilities for hydrological resources, including which entity will be responsible for water used in irrigation.

According to local press, one of the changes made to the original bill is that the law will allow private capitals to participate in the water sector, as long as they are non-profit initiatives. This refers to private irrigation cooperatives, among others, the official said.

The Peruvian agriculture sector has gone on a number of strikes over the past few years due to fears that water for irrigation will be privatized.

Authorities and legislators have assured them this is not the case, and therefore their production costs will not be subject to increases as a result.

The bill is expected to increase wastewater and industrial wastewater treatment control measures, and to increase the control over water used in industrial processes, improving the country's environmental standards.