El Salvador faces severe fresh water shortages. Even in the communities that live on the largest fresh water lake (Suchitlán Lake), access to consumable water can be a daily challenge. The tropical rain season varies annually and causes droughts that affects the people as a whole. It’s also common to see people carrying “bags” (pouches) of water instead of bottles due to resource limitations.
What are the social justice issues?
Fresh, drinkable water is directly linked to productivity and health. As the availability of fresh water decreases, so does the health and overall productivity of individuals and communities. However, it’s not just a climate or environmental factor.
Current policies also limit the access and availability of fresh water. It’s often difficult for neighborhoods to create fresh water reservoirs due to municipal restrictions on permits and finances. Large corporations also have contracts with the government. These contracts prioritize corporate access over citizens access to the fresh water. The corporations then use the water to create and export products such as Coca Cola to more economically privileged countries.
Pollution also affects drinking water. El Salvador more or less lacks the necessary infrastructure to support environmentally friendly alternatives to pollution. It’s common to see litter in the streets, trash washing down rivers, and the dumping of trash into areas that directly influence the water quality. Policy needs to be addressed at several levels.