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Resources 2018, 7(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7010015

The Vital Minimum Amount of Drinking Water Required in Ecuador

1
Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Cuenca, Cuenca 010203, Ecuador
2
Faculty of Jurisprudence, Political and Social Sciences, University of Cuenca, Cuenca 010203, Ecuador
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 November 2017 / Revised: 7 February 2018 / Accepted: 13 February 2018 / Published: 24 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Water Regimes)
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Abstract

In 2017, the government of Ecuador established the minimum quantity of water required to be provided for free by drinking water utilities. Ecuador recognized the access to water as a fundamental human right because it guarantees the good living, known as “Sumak kawsay”, an indigenous Andean concept, in the Ecuadorian Constitution. This represents a novel approach to water rights in the world, as it is the first attempt to establish a minimum quantity of water under a constitutional guarantee by legislation, rather than regulation or judicial decision. However, this novel legislative approach raises the question of how this minimum amount of free water will impact the most vulnerable members of the Ecuadorian community. This paper provides the results of the first comprehensive research of the minimum required water provision in Ecuador. In order to measure the impact on the income of households, we built a methodology integrating: doctrinaire analyses, normative studies, and economic analyses. According to the Ecuadorian legislation, over-consumption of raw water generates additional costs that must be paid by water companies to the central government. In that regard, there is an inevitable relationship between the efficiency of the service and those additional costs. Efficiency, on this case, is the capacity of water companies (public or private) to provide water services at an adequate price, observing the following parameters: quantity, quality and sufficiency. Our research found that with this legislation in three Ecuadorian local governments (Cuenca, Gualaceo and Suscal), the most vulnerable households (i.e., low-income and/or indigenous households) will be affected the most. This means that and those families will spend the most part of their income on water services otherwise they would have to reduce their water consumption. View Full-Text
Keywords: drinking water; minimum vital of drinking water; human right to water; Ecuador; family income; public services drinking water; minimum vital of drinking water; human right to water; Ecuador; family income; public services
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Martínez Moscoso, A.; Aguilar Feijó, V.G.; Verdugo Silva, T. The Vital Minimum Amount of Drinking Water Required in Ecuador. Resources 2018, 7, 15.

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