Following widespread farmers' protests, lawmakers of Guatemala recently had to withdraw a legislative bill for establishing a new Water Law. The bill suggested the setting up of a vice-ministry of water resources to manage water use and also called for a system of special licenses for better utilisation of water resources.
Juan Chitay, one of the leaders of the agitation, alleged that the government of President Oscar Berger wanted to use the law to "take control of the country's water...[the law] will cause problems for the health of the residents, in agriculture, and in the development of our communities." Guillermo Sosa, member, environment committee, confirmed the withdrawal of the bill and said that a deeper study was being conducted. Reports said the government plans to consult communities in framing the legislation in future.
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