What is SENAGUA's role in the management of water resources?
Water is a strategic, important, and influential resource in the development of economic and social life of a country. Development, production, and life depend on its availability. SENAGUA efficiently guarantees compliance with the rights enshrined in the constitution regarding access, and fair, equitable, and rational use of water. We understand the management of water resources in an integral way because it is an element that allows a decent life and ensures health, food, and nutrition. The government seeks to guarantee the conservation, recovery, and integral management of water resources, river basins, and ecological flows associated with the hydrological cycle. By doing so, we can regulate all activities that may affect the quality and quantity of water, and the balance of ecosystems, especially in water sources and recharge areas.
What plans are being carried out to improve access to water in the country?
Our mission is to reach all sectors of the country by delivering water through usage authorizations. We must reach all users who require it personally, for uses such as human consumption, irrigation for food sovereignty, ecological flows, and productive activities. Through the mission Water and Sanitation for All, we reach the sectors that lack access to drinking water and basic sanitation. We provide potable water and sanitary sewer systems together with the decentralized autonomous governments. Social water organizations that help manage and operate the country's rural systems form a fundamental axis in water planning.
One of the fastest-growing activities in the country is mining and its future depends on the management of permits granted by SENAGUA. What changes have been made to expedite the granting of permits and at the same time ensure responsible use?
Most of the raw materials used today come from the subsoil and are extremely important for Ecuador's future. In order to safeguard the water resource, and as established by the Organic Law on Water Resources, Usage, and Efficiency and the Mining Law, this institution issues an administrative act prior to the execution of mining activities, in which it is verified whether or not there will be any eventual damage to bodies of surface or underground water and if the project follows the order of priority over the right to access water. This state portfolio has developed a technical standard that establishes the minimum requirements and guidelines for the issuance of the previous administrative act, which considers the principles of simplification, standardization, and optimization of processes, without neglecting the technical requirements regarding the preservation of hydric resources.
What priorities does SENAGUA have today?
SENAGUA has the responsibility of guaranteeing fair and equitable access to water through policies, strategies, and plans that enable a comprehensive and integrated management of water resources. SENAGUA has established the following axes for its management: Optimize the procedure for issuing authorizations for use of water considering the principles of simplification and standardization in order to provide an effective service to citizens; digitalize the issuance of authorizations for use of water; simplify, standardize, and optimize the requirements and procedures for the issuance of administrative acts in compliance with the Mining Law in order to guarantee the effective exercise of the sovereign rights of the state to administer, regulate, and control mining activities while preserving hydric resources; conserve and protect water sources by identifying and delimiting the water protection areas, and guarantee the water supply and the preservation of the ecosystem services of these areas; implement a unique information system for the management of water resources that collects stores, processes, and supplies data for decision-making, control, and regulation of the water sector; implement the Water and Sanitation for All mission, which aims to guarantee fair and equitable access to water, improve the quality of basic services, and reduce the presence of diseases and protect water-related ecosystems; and planning.