This is a repost from a fellow blogger’s site about a current case of water theft in Berlin, El Salvador. << If anyone reading is able to help or intervene with this in some way, then please do. >>
Water is a very SCARCE resource in El Salvador because of the annual dry season, which lasts 6 months long. Many communities live with few water resources, and projects to drill new wells often fail because they find no water when drilling. this has happened in the town of Obrajuelo, in Agua Caliente, Chalatenango, where we have relatives, so we know about this first hand.
I mention this to stress the urgency of this situation to the readers. Draining the water resources of a local community is not just immoral, but dangerous to everyone who lives there. It is amazing how they are getting away with this, because based on what’s stated below, one cannot legally own groundwater in El Salvador, so it looks like a problem with the enforcement of local environmental laws.
Water thievesA company named Aluviah is illegally taking water from a water source in the communities of Río de los Bueyes and Talpetates in the municipality of Berlín. Though the communities still have water (in the form of water pumps from the rivers to their communities) they are in danger of losing water in the future. There are several other communities in the lower zone that could also potentially lose water. Unfortunately, even though the company is stealing the water there’s not a lot that the community can do about it. There have been inplications of people being paid under the table to look the other way. To make matters worse, the company has armed guards patrolling the outskirts of the communities. These men randomly shoot off bullets into the air in order to frighten the people of the communities.We received the information below on a flyer at the end of church on Sunday; I translated it to English. Someone from the Pastoral Team also talked to someone in the community of Río de los Bueyes about what was happening there:ATTENTION BERLIN!!!!!THEY WANT TO LEAVE US WITHOUT WATEROrganizations of the municipalities of Alegría, Berlin, Usulután, Mercedes Umaña are denouncing before the city, national and international organizations, government, church, pastors from different churches, and to whom it may concern:A PRIVATE COMPANY has emerged named ALUVIAH S.A. DE C.V. that aims to EXTRACT AND SELL water from a water source in the lower area of Berlin, between CANTON TALPETATES and THE CASERÍO RÍO LOS BUEYES of this municipality.The head of the company is Mrs. JUANA FRANCISCA SERRANO supported [by] VIRGINIA MORATAYA, alternate deputy for the department of Usulután, who are powerfully trying to establish the company in this community.THEY DO NOT HAVE PERMISSIONIt should be noted that one can own property but not the groundwater. The company cannot operate without the permission of City Hall. We have the support of the municipality to protect resources. In this case it is the water of our people since the LOWER SAN SIMON RIVER BASIN supplies water to an average of 7 municipalities. Therefore they do not have nor ever will obtain permission.
REPORTED THREATSIn face of opposition from communities and organizations, there have been threats against community leaders in the community of Río de los Bueyes and members of our organizations. In the area where the company is working, there are armed men who shoot in the direction of the community of Río de los Bueyes trying to scare people. These actions are directed by Ramón Serrano, brother of the owner of the company.
REPORT TO THE COMMUNITYMrs. JUANA FRANCISCA SERRANO with the support of VIRGINIA MORATAYA have filed suit in the courts of Berlin against the community of Río de los Bueyes, accusing them of actions that have never been committed at any time. WE ARE THE COMMUNITIES THAT ARE BEING ASSAULTED AND THREATENED BY UNSCRUPULOUS PEOPLE.
THEREFOREBEING HELD RESPONSIBLE ARE MRS. JUANA FRANCISCA SERRANO, HER BROTHER RAMON SERRANO, AND THE REST OF THE OWNERS OF THE COMPANY ALUVIAH S.A. DE C.V. FOR ANY AGGRESSION TO THE PHYSICAL AND MORAL INTEGRITY OF OUR COMMUNITY LEADERS AND ORGANIZATIONS
THE COMPLAINANTS ARETHE ASSOCIATION OF DEVELOPMENT AND PROTECTION OF THE SAN SIMÓN AND LEMPA RIVER BASINS (ADECSILEMP), THE COORDINATOR OF THE LOWER SAN SIMÓN RIVER BASIN, THE LAY PARISH COMMISION IN FAVOR OF LIFE OF BERLIN, AND THE NATIONAL MOVEMENT AGAINST DEATH PROJECTS.Berlín, July 2011________________________________________________________Related links:YouTube: The company AluviahYouTube: Threat of water privitazation in BerlínNew Millenium article