THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY WATER BOARDS
“Our duty is to protect the forest and groundwater levels. When I took office, I pointed out that the billing system was not transparent and presented serious risks of weakening trust in the Community Water Board. […] We installed water meters to establish equity and access. This was successful.”
- María del Rosario Pérez (President of the Community Water Board of Aldea San Juan, Municipio de Salamá, Guatemala)
Many Community Water Boards in Central America establish their legitimacy by making sure they work honestly, transparently, and in an accountable manner, with the support of their community. Our report on Integrity and the Human Right to Water in Central America highlights their essential role in ensuring the fulfilment of the human right to water. Yet these non-profit organizations manage the capture, treatment and distribution of water often with little backing from State authorities, in unclear regulatory frameworks, and with too little capacity.
Based on interviews with Community Water Board presidents in Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica, and with a case study on water contamination issues around pineapple plantations in Costa Rica, the report looks into this paradox.