Andess hits back at farmers over water rights allegations

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chile's national water utility association Andess has hit back against allegations from the agriculture sector regarding utilities' rights to sell treated wastewater, Diario Financiero reported.

A recent supreme court ruling confirmed that national sanitation service authority SISS can allow utilities to sell treated wastewater rather than returning it to its original source. Local producers had presented a suit against the authority, saying that selling wastewater would reduce water availability for irrigation.

The national agriculture association (SNA) issued a public declaration this week saying that the move could result in the loss of thousands of hectares of crops, and that utilities are looking for another way to profit in an already lucrative sector.

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Andess responded by saying that farmers have no ownership of treated wastewater, and that its sale for use in industry means more water is available for human consumption.

While SNA alleged that utilities are trying to deprive farmers of water discounts and subsidies, Andess has committed to seeking solutions to this issue, according to the report.