Water Privatisation-Guayaquil, Ecuador


Located in the southern Guayas region, Guayaquil - the most populous city and main commercial port of Ecuador was negatively affected by water privatization which resulted in a lower quality of service and higher bills. Local residents strongly opposed the new management, denouncing undrinkable water supply and discontinuous services that worsened the already precarious living conditions in many suburban districts.

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Basic Data
NameWater Privatisation-Guayaquil, Ecuador
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Water access rights and entitlements
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Water treatment and access to sanitation (access to sewage)
Specific CommoditiesWater

Domestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project Detailscases of Hepatitis A reported (46 are suspected and 39 are confirmed); more than 2 million people do not have access to drinking water;
Level of Investment (in USD)40000000
Type of PopulationUrban
Company Names or State EnterprisesBechtel
Interagua from Ecuador
Hidalgo e Hidalgo from Ecuador
Fanalca from Colombia
ECAPAG from Ecuador
Proactiva Medioambiente from Spain
Relevant government actorsINEM;, MIDUVI;, Municipality of Guayaquil;, Defensoria del Pueblo de Ecuador;, CCCC
International and Financial InstitutionsInter-American Development Bank (IADB)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAccion Ecolgica - Ecuador;, Movimiento Mi cometa - Ecuador;, Asamblea Permanente de derechos humanos del Ecuador - Ecuador
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndustrial workers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
A referendum has been proposed as a result of the modification of the Ecuadorian constitution, which states that the water is managed by the State and the community governments.
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Otherfailure to meet the basic International quality standards for the water;

unfit supply of water
Health ImpactsVisible: Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
New legislation
Development of AlternativesRemunicipalization of water services
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.In spite of the modification of the Ecuadorian constitution which estates that the water distribution and sewage system should be managed by the local entities and the State, in Guayaquil the system remains in the hands of the private sector.
Sources and Materials

The Constitution of Ecuador (the old one and the new one);

Standards of the Instituto Ecuatoriano de Normalizacin (INEN);

Consumer Protection Law;

Concession Contract

Legal Code;


Ciudades sedientas. Agua y ambientes urbanos en America Latina. Anton, Danilo. Ed. Nordan. 1996

Agua y servicios ambientales. Isch Lpez, Edgar; Gentes, Ingo. Ed. Abya-yala. 2006

Las canillas abiertas de America Latina II. La Lucha contra la privatizacion del agua y los desafios de una gestion participativa y sustentable de los recursos hidricos. Grosse, Robert; Santos, Carlos; Taks, Javier; Thimmenl, Stefan. Ed. Zonalibro. 2006

Revista Semillas N 28: El agua un bien publico patrimonio de los pueblos. Grupo semillas. 2006


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Meta Information
ContributorLucie Greyl
Last update08/04/2014