The Fourth Chamber of the Court of Appeals of Valparaiso hosted a protective appeal filed by the Ombudsman’s Office on behalf of children and communities in the commune of Petorca, which provides that, in the context of the health crisis by the pandemic, 100 litres of water per day be delivered to the inhabitants of the area.
The ruling implies a severe setback for the Regional Ministerial Secretariat for Health of Valparaiso, which in the middle of the pandemic insisted that 50 liters were sufficient, as stated in resolution No. 458, issued in April this year, contravincing what the World Health Organization (WHO) establishes as the minimum to live in.
This resolution terminated the delivery of 100 litres per day to individuals and communities, limiting the delivery of water, reducing the availability of water to comply with recommendations for the prevention of coronavirus contagion, throughout the Valparaiso region.
The Ombudsman, Patricia Muñoz, noted that it is a «relevant failure, where now the instruction of the delivery of 100 liters is in force as a minimum to be able to live, especially in the pandemic situation that we live in. It is also valuable because it considers the best interests of children and adolescents and we hope that the Regional Ministerial Secretariat of Health will implement this ruling soon and deliver the 100 litres that correspond.»
For its part, the environmental organization Greenpeace emphasized that «this victory achieved by the Ombudsman’s Offices is very important because it allows to guarantee the distribution of water in a minimum quantity to meet the needs in a context of health crisis, of those who today in the Valparaiso region cannot get it in any other way».
«This legal triumph allows not only the people of Petorca to be provided with water, but the entire Valparaiso region, so the call is to its implementation immediately. The 100 liters are a minimum floor, legally established, that must be guaranteed for all Chile. Not respecting it means attacking people’s most basic rights. It is unacceptable for the same authorities to consider that less of that figure is sufficient for those who do not have a way to wash their hands today. This is finally taking seriously that this is a violation of the basic human right to access water,» said Matías Asun, director at Greenpeace.
The organization further announced that within the next few days it will file an invalidation of resolution No. 23 of 2019, before the Seremi de Salud de Valparaiso, to request that the minimum of 100 liters be extended not only during the State of Catastrophe, but be permanent for all the inhabitants of the region.
Since March of this year Greenpeace enabled the platform Sueltaelagua.cl, a request that President Sebastián Piñera requests an emergency plan for the distribution and release of water for the more than 350 thousand people who in Chile do not have guaranteed access to water. The petition reaches more than 75,000 people who have now asked the president to take charge of this crisis, amid the pandemic. However, it is the Courts of Justice who are beginning to release it.