Peru: victory in protests over water price hike

All economic activities were suspended for several days in Peru's southern city of Moquegua as residents launched a civil strike to protest a planned large hike in water prices. The protests were relaxed April 19, when the central government sent a representative to meet with local and community leaders. The government initially proposed that the National Superintendancy of Sanitation Services (SURNASS) suspend for a year implementation of its March decree hiking water prices by 20% in arid Moquegua region. But protesters demanded that the decree be overturned entirely. Finally, the Technical Organism for Administration of Sanitation Services (OTASS),  agreed to invest more money in Moquegua's infrastructure, heading off the need for the price hike. Authorities warned that the region's water system is at the brink of "collapse." (El Comercio, April 20; La República, Andina, April 19) 

Protesters also pointed to the profligate use of water by the mining industry in Moquegua. Under pressure of the protests, the Organism for Environmental Evaluation and Oversight (OEFA) ordered the Aruntani mining company to immediately cease dumping of tailings and contaminated water in local creeks at its Florencia-Tucari gold mine in Mariscal Nieto province, Moquegua. After years of operation, the company was finally ordered to instate a water treatment program at the facility. (Canal N, Aptil 20)

Photo: OEFA via Canal N