Who owns the water in Guatemala?

Bringing Water Home

All Guatemalans, of course, just like the air.

Water belongs to the Guatemalan people and it’s managed by the government; national and local government. In theory, Guatemalans don’t pay for the water itself, but for the distribution system; that is the electricity to pump it and the distribution pipes. The water bill can vary a lot from zone to zone for the same amount of distributed water.

Water is always available in the wealthy neighborhood homes. Water is rarely available in the poor neighborhood homes. Water is not even available in many villages homes. This reality is what brings us to today’s picture. There are several public water faucets located in San Pedro Las Huertas, one the villages that belong to Municipio of La Antigua Guatemala, county in Spanish, pues. That people actually use the public tap water faucets makes me believe that water is not available in all the houses in this aldea, village.

Central America and Guatemala especially have an abundance of water resources, many are groundwater. La Antigua Guatemala is located in a valley irrigated with over six months of a rainy season per year. La Antigua Guatemala is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes that collect even more water. Much of this collected rain ends up as groundwater and then pump to municipal water tanks and finally available through the public water distribution system, of which the public water faucets are part of, and then, in some cases, water is hauled home like the image above shows.

I believe I could do an entire series just on water; any of you interested in learning about water rights, water usages, water wells, municipal water, public water distributions, public washbasin water tanks, water stations and bottled water? If we get 15 requests I will take all the photos and research all the information this week; it is up to you.

© 2009 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • emromesco

    Pues the relationship of Guatemalans with water is very special due to the scarceness… although it might be quite abundant underneath, but doesn’t get distributed equally (go figure, in Guate, noooo). In any case, even in “rich” neighbourhoods in la Nueva water is not available all day long, the trick is to build a reservoir big enough to capture the water that will be used when there is no municipal distribution. Imagine water blackouts.

    On another tone, talking about water reminds me of a TV miniseries called H2O aired here in Canada a few years ago. The topic: The USA annexing Canada to their federation in order to get access to water. As they keep telling us… is the oil of the 21st century.

    Ah, on an unrelated topic, have you seen Water, the film by Indo-Canadian director Deepa Mehta? It is the last of her trilogy including…

  • I am very interested in this…………….everyone should be , water is -………….life.And yes, in Canada it is a huge topic as we have the most freshwater lakes in the world up here.

  • Eric

    Si, si, si ! A water series would be great, Rudy. Your photos of the public … como se dice, “lavanderia” … over by Sta Clara are some of my favorites. It is an interesting place to be when it’s being used, as well as when it’s not, and everyone is having lunch in the park. Wait, what’s that sound … do I hear tortillas being made ? Ja-ja-ja
    I love the several levels of contrast in today’s photo – we have the color contrasts with the red skirt and sangre-colored tiles against the greens and blues, we have the living grass, lady and trees against the stone and sheet metal of the buildings, we have the lady carrying water in a bucket walking toward a city where many of the houses in the photo probably have water available … it works on so many levels. Thanks for the great photo and text, and here’s hoping we will get to see a water series !

  • Eclipsedeluna

    Can you please do the research and submit some water info? I’d be interested in knowing how the water system works in Guatemala.

  • Nice pic. And the water topic is very interesting so keep it comming, thanks.

  • BJM

    A series about water would be great.

  • erica

    Hi rudy, yes please do a series on water – i think it would be very interesting

  • m

    The neoliberals would have the water sold to a foreign company, so it won’t belong to us any more

  • heather

    I am a frequent reader (a/k/a “stalker”) but have never posted. I would love to learn more about water distribution in GT. Knowledge is power, right?

  • Erick

    As a child I grew up in Guatemala City, and I definitely remember that we sporadically had running water; meaning, we had water either in the morning or at night, but rarely throughout the entire day. We did have days when we would have no water at all, so we would have to go to one of the public water faucets up the street (similar to the one referenced in the article above). From a kid perspective, no water meant no shower, so hooray! 😉 My parents were certainly not as pleased as I was for it made it a headache to have water for drinking, cooking, and laundry.

  • Eric

    Okay, Rudy, there are seven people behind me, looking over my shoulder, wondering about the beautiful photos, and where the subject is.
    Me : “Everybody … would you like to see the photographer present a series on water and water usage in Guatemala ?”
    Them : “Yes, we would.”
    Trust me, they are right here, right now. So, do we make the required 15 people, or what ?

  • MaggieD votes for series on water.

  • Stephanie

    I would love a series on water — And especially if you have any info on water projects (NGO or otherwise) that could use support. While I agree that knowledge is power — power is only useful if you put it to good use.

    • Okay I’m number 14… just one more comment folks!!! A water series is an excellent idea.

  • Deb

    I would like to see a series on water!

  • Cannot leave you one short…bring the water on 🙂

  • Jennifer

    You have your 16,
    but I will be the 16th!

    Love to know the ins and outs of water!
    Thanks Rudy!

  • emromesco

    I forgot to endorse the water series. Here it goes… pls pls.
    “why does it always rain on me!!!”

  • Cynthia

    Rudy, Your photos and research on water rights, usage, supply and so on would be appriciated.

    Thank you.
    Cynthia

  • kwallek

    Things that matter with water wells: what are they casing off the bore with, is it cased all the way to the water table, is it potable the way it comes out of the ground, what is the recovery rate, how deep is the water and depth or thickness of the water table. A water series would be fun, windmills, treatment plants, distribution systems and a little on what is done with the water after it is fouled. Thanks for fighting the good fight, Rudy.

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  • Sandra

    Would like to hear more about the subject. Here in California, water (along with all public services) is been rationed. My neighbor just got a ticket for watering his yard on an off day

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  • arieswym

    I know your already over the 15 person limit, but I would love to read a series about water in Guatemala.

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  • Rudy –

    I’d love to follow a series about water in Guatemala. If you decide to write one, I’ll profile and link it on my website, http://www.ClinicLink.org.