translated from Spanish: Chilean model of use of waters

the regulation of the waters in Chile has been a subject of constant debate, appearing intermittently in the public agenda.
The water code, which separates the water from that of land ownership and establishes that individuals may constitute exploitation rights in perpetuity on the waters and transfer them as any private property was enacted in 1981. This led to the accumulation of water rights in excessive form without that there should be a productive use, but only the possibility of profiting from them, however that collection is free of charge and allows you to keep them free of charge over time without obligation use.
Thus, the possession of water rights seriously distorted the electricity market, to introduce barriers to the free entry of new actors, in an era when hydroelectricity was the most economical resource to generate energy.
In 1992 the Government of President Aylwin sent a draft law for modification, then in 1996 the Government of President Frei sent substantive amendments to the project which aimed to impose the payment of a patent for the non-use of the waters , so discourage speculation; higher performance of the authority for the granting of new rights of exploitation, among other improvements. This draft law suffered a paradoxical delay his pending legislative and only was approved in 2005, even passing by the Constitutional Court, which has resorted to claiming that the imposition of a patent by non-use would be unconstitutional and would represent a very negative precedent.
The adoption of this reform represented a significant advance, in fact, has caused the resignation to the water rights of several electric companies that did not use them. However, there remain important weaknesses, since the State retains limited powers. It is just denying the request of private water rights when the basin has been declared dead and, once granted, the State does not have instruments to regulate the use and exercise of this right, except very exceptional situations.
In this context, during the year 2014, the Government of President Bachelet entered parliamentary procedure a draft law to modify the current water code, whose main proposal is to create a new category of rights applicable only to those constituted from the entry into force of the new law.
It should be noted that the scarce available water. This new category would be grants temporary and extendable, likely to be limited on the basis of the public interest and expire when the waters are not used. By the end of 2016, the Chamber of Deputies passed this Bill, however, recently the Government announced income of substantive indications which are oriented to deliver permanent rights, among other modifications.
It is necessary that what ultimately enacts ensured that this resource, which belongs to all Chileans, be used efficiently, respecting the rights of those who use it effectively and avoiding speculation.

Poured in this op-ed content is the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial line nor the counter position.

Original source in Spanish

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