Conflict in Ecuador Regarding Water Supply

Cristina Zaldumbide

Yale Alumnus' NGO Provides Safe Drinking Water in Rural Ecuador
Yale Alumnus’ NGO Provides Safe Drinking Water in Rural Ecuador

Life has no forever. It has requirements and deadlines that no human being can escape. Experts call these requests the rule of threes, stating that the human body in average cannot survive more than 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. Do you dare prove the opposite? 65% of the human body is made of water; therefore its presence accounts for significance vitality .

The 21st century has become a revolutionary period filled with a sentiment of positivism towards the improvement of social standards within countries . According to the World Health Organization, in the last 20 years Ecuador has increased 14% in access to an improved water supply in urban areas, and 19% in sanitation. Still , Ecuador –a country in northwestern of South America with a population of around 15 million citizens–faces 65% of non-revenue water which is estimated to be among the highest in South America.  This means that more than half of the water produced does not reach its customers, wasting resources and valuable energy. Since 2001, the PRAGUAS or Rural and Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Project became the government’s primary instrument to face the sector’s challenges. This program offers technical assistance as well as financial aid to municipalities in order to improve quality, policy, and efficiency of drinking water.

Although the access to drinking water is fundamental to this South American country, it faces other struggles concerning water as well. In 2008, the Constitution approved that “the human right to water is fundamental and non renounceable. Water is a strategic national asset for the public use, inalienable, irrevocable, no appropriable and essential for life.’ (Apland Hitz, 2010). This statement created an intragroup dilemma within the country since the indigenous –a minority– thought that water should be managed by public authorities rather than private organizations. Protests from this group have been present throughout the past three years to demand the equal distribution of water.

Water is a natural resource that has been present throughout human history. The past decades have been an encouragement for the people of Ecuador because although they have not attained the highest standard of drinking water and accessibility, they have made tremendous improvements and will most probably continue once the indigenous and the private organizations settle their disputes. The struggle continues and it will be relevant for as long as an official agreement is settled.


Apland Hitz, J. (2010, May 14). The Water Conflict in Ecuador. Retrieved October 1, 2013, from The state of the planet:

Binns, C. (2012, November 30). How Long Can a Person Survive Without Water? Retrieved October 1, 2013, from

Wikipedia. (2013, August 1). Water supply and sanitation in Ecuador. Retrieved October 1, 2013, from

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