¿Por qué recuperar la gestión pública del agua?

Chile enfrenta hoy un creciente y complejo panorama de conflictividad social a causa de la competencia por agua entre sectores productivos, o entre estas y comunidades locales (muchas veces, pueblos indígenas). Esta situación, agudizada por los cambios climáticos que ya afectan al territorio chileno o por la sequía crónica que experimentan amplias zonas del Norte del país, deriva del marco legal y constitucional que impera sobre la gestión del Agua.

El Código de Aguas, instaurado dictatorialmente por el régimen militar en la década de 1980, define a los recursos hídricos como bienes dables de ser comercializados en el mercado del agua, sin otra consideración que el dinero. Así, la propiedad de este vital elemento aparece desde entonces concentrada en pocas empresas, que de este modo determinan, en conformidad con sus intereses de lucro, los usos de las aguas en cada una de las cuencas hidrográficas de Chile.

Los perjuicios sociales, culturales, económicos y ambientales derivados de la privatización de las aguas, se suman a la visión del ecosistema como mera sumatoria de “recursos naturales” (suelo, subsuelo, aire, napas subterráneas, glaciares, bosque nativo, etc.) dables de ser vendidos en mercados locales o internacionales o intervenidos al amparo de una serie de leyes sectoriales, despojadas de una mirada compleja de la realidad ambiental y social.

Esto es palpable, por ejemplo, en el Código de Minería –también instaurado de manera inconsulta durante el régimen militar-, el cual estipula el privilegio del cual goza desde entonces la extracción de minerales del subsuelo. El artículo 2 del mencionado Código señala que “la concesión minera es un derecho real e inmueble distinto e independiente del dominio del predio superficial, aunque tengan un mismo dueño”. A partir de este marco, las empresas mineras acceden a permisos ambientales para intervenir territorios, y determinar de ese modo la economía de un lugar a través de la servidumbre asociada a este tipo de faenas. En el extremo Norte de Chile, un litro por segundo (l/s) de agua hoy es vendido en al menos 100 mil dólares, cifra accesible para una compañía transnacional pero imposible de cubrir, por ejemplo, para una comunidad agrícola tradicional, que ha utilizado históricamente las aguas y que observa con impotencia la extinción de este recurso no renovable en manos de la minería. Esto, además de la herencia de contaminación ambiental de las faenas abandonadas tras la explotación.

En materia de proyectos eléctricos, la concentración de los derechos de aprovechamiento de aguas afecta cruciales definiciones sobre el desarrollo energético de Chile. En efecto, estos derechos son un requisito fundamental para obtener el permiso ambiental requerido por una mega-represa hidroeléctrica. Este marco legal ha facilitado la instalación de estas centrales en las décadas recientes, con la consecuente erradicación de comunidades indígenas (pues la Ley Indígena que resguarda sus derechos ancestrales es en la práctica inferior a la Ley Eléctrica o al Código de Aguas), la pérdida de patrimonio natural y el subsidio de facto que deben pagar las economías locales, sobre todo turismo y agricultura.

Estos conflictos, motivados por la inexistencia de planeamiento estratégico de estas vitales áreas del desarrollo (es decir, el abandono de estas definiciones al mercado), suman además un nuevo panorama de competencia creciente por agua entre sectores productivos (por ejemplo, hidroelectricidad versus agua potable; minería versus ‘Potencia Agroalimentaria y Forestal”; producción de celulosa versus pesca; hidroelectricidad versus turismo, etc.). La situación se agrava más al constatarse los impactos del calentamiento global en los reservorios de agua dulce congelada, en la Cordillera de Los Andes. En muchas zonas de Chile, los derechos de agua entregados a perpetuidad por el Estado son más que el agua realmente disponible. Este contexto, y la necesidad de asegurar la sustentabilidad del ambiente, la democracia y las economías, ameritan que Chile asuma la necesidad de recuperar la gestión pública del agua.

 FUENTE: http://www.derechoalagua.cl/

 

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