Chile unlikely to pass water department bill before March


The bill that would create a water resources department and increase water’s importance within the public works ministry (MOP) is unlikely to be passed by Chile’s congress before the new government takes office on March 11, according to public works minister Alfredo Moreno (pictured).

The senate’s public works committee began reviewing the bill in July, but over the last few weeks the upper chamber has been prioritizing more urgent legislation, Moreno told BNamericas. The bill also needs to go the lower house.

However, he also said there is cross-party support for some of the central aspects of the bill, which would centralize the coordination of Chile’s water policies. It would also rebrand the MOP as the public works and water resources ministry.

“We can discuss what is the precise form or the attributions that this ministry could take, but I believe that the general idea has a lot of support, so I expect that, whoever the new president is, work will continue to make this a reality,” Moreno said.

The minister made the comments during the Expo Agua Santiago event.

Moreno added that it is very important to have a coordinated water policy since even regions in the south, which were previously considered free from the drought affecting the country for over a decade, are now seeing less rain than normal.

Earlier this year water scarcity was declared in Los Lagos region, and it was followed this week by neighboring Los Ríos region.

“All studies show that Chile has very dispersed organizations, with not a lot of strength to coordinate, and that requires an organization to coordinate it, not just the MOP, but also having a ministerial committee, a national council, having a national water policy,” Moreno added.


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BNAmerica, 2 December 2021