The lives of the residents of the region of Petorca, in the rural communities of the communes of La Ligua, Petorca and Cabildo, located in the Valparaíso region in Chile, are profoundly affected by the water shortage in the area. This water scarcity derives from frequent droughts as well as the lack of water right protections in Chile. The available water is located on private property owned by big agriculture and mining companies that exploit the natural resources of the area. The residents of Petorca are supplied with only 50 liters of water of questionable quality and oftentimes, they receive even less than this nominal amount. Even with the full quantity of 50 liters, this is half of the international standard said to meet the minimum needs of personal and domestic consumption and hygiene.
This limited quantity of water is insufficient to face the COVID-19 pandemic and comply with the hygiene guidelines proposed by the World Health Organization and the Chilean government. Both urge people to wash their hands at least 5 times a day for 30 seconds to limit the transmission and spread of the virus. Complying with these recommendations however, would mean using practically all the water they are allocated, to wash their hands. This would mean jeopardizing not only their drinking water and domestic and personal hygiene needs, but the ability to care for their livestock and water their crops, as well. This would force the inhabitants of the region to make an impossible decision between balancing their livelihoods and health.
Now, COVID-19 cases have been reported in the province. Without constant access to water, there is a concerningly high risk of contagion and mass propagation of the virus within the communities of Petorca, La Ligua and Cabildo. The state recognized the dangers that insufficient access to water pose to the population and began a water supply program to provide 100 liters of water to each resident in April, but the program was stopped without an explanation after only 8 days.
We urge the Chilean government to guarantee a minimum of 100 liters of clean water each day to every inhabitant of the communities affected by water scarcity. To do this, we demand that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) provide prevention methods to benefit the communities of the communes of Petorca, La Ligua and Cabildo so that they receive sufficient water as well as good quality medical attention, a permanent control on the water quality and the progressive implementation of integrated methods to resolve the root of the problem.
Join us and call for #AguaParaPetorca on your social media to get the IACHR to support our demand to defend the fundamental right to water for the communities of the communes of La Ligua, Petorca and Cabildo in Chile.
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#AguaParaPetorca: @cejil and @modatima_cl petitioned the @IACHR today to issue precautionary measures to ensure residents in Petorca have access to water to protect themselves from COVID-19, which has already been detected in their community: https://shar.es/aH8yVY
#AguaParaPetorca: “hygiene practices are the only form of...protection against coronavirus...Without sufficient water, complying with these practices is impossible...Complying would force them to sacrifice basic aspects of their livelihoods.” -María Noel Leoni, @cejil
#AguaParaPetorca:Chilean must guarantee a 100L supply of clean water to the residents of communities in Petorca. The state can’t deprive its citizens of their fundamental right to water, especially during the COVID19 pandemic: https://shar.es/aH8yVY
#AguaParaPetorca: Petorca residents only have access to 50L of water a day (enough for a 4 min shower) and only HALF of what int’l standards establish as the min quantity of water a person needs per day to fight COVID19. The @IACHR must urge the Chilean gov’t to supply 100L of clean water to all residents.