The Ley de Recursos Hídricos, Usos y Aprovechamiento del Agua (Law on Water Resources and Uses) came into force in Ecuador in August 2014. The new law guarantees the human right of all people to clean, adequate, accessible, and affordable water for personal and domestic use that is of sufficient quantity, quality, continuity, and coverage. The law prohibits the privatization of water resources and stipulates that they be exclusively managed by public agencies or community organizations.
This law benefits community water and sanitation organizations (Organizaciones Comunitarias de Servicios de Agua y Saneamiento – OCSAS) in Ecuador by providing recognition and support from the national government; in fact, an entire chapter of the law is dedicated to community water management. This legal framework provides administrative, financial, and managerial autonomy for the OCSAS, while promoting and supporting alliances between the government and individual communities in order to improve services. This also brings the OCSAS out of obscurity to position them as key players who are contributing to national development.
The Red de Organizaciones Sociales y Comunitarias en la Gestión del Agua del Ecuador (Network of Social and Community Organizations for Water Management in Ecuador – ROSCGAE), an association of OCSAS from all over the country, actively participated in public forums on the new law, ensuring that it acknowledged and bolstered community water management.
Avina supported the formation and development of ROSCGAE and served as a bridge between the network, the national government, and local governments. For several years prior, Avina also facilitated opportunities for institutions and community organizations to collaborate on contextual analysis and proposals to be included in the law.