Bolivia, Chile: authorities closer to initial agreement regarding Silala waters

Bolivia and Chile are close to drawing up an initial agreement regarding the use of the Silala waters, following a meeting in Chilean capital Santiago on April 3 [2009]. Authorities agreed that Chile should compensate Bolivia for the water used, and that the resources should be divided equally between the two nations, local press reported. […] The group will meet again in Bolivia, in May, to continue talks.

The initial agreement will require Chile to pay for 50% of the Silala resources. [T]he costs would be covered by state copper company Codelco and Chilean investment group Luksic’s rail company, Ferrocarril Andino, which connects Chilean city Antofagasta and Bolivia, as these are the two firms that most benefit from the Silala waters.

Meanwhile, Bolivia’s foreign relations minister David Choquehuanca has spoken about a fee of US$17,000/d, which would total about US$6mn/y.

Compensation for the water is a major policy change for Chile, as the country has steadfastly refused to pay for the resources, claiming they are part of an international river. At the same time, [..] Bolivian department Potosí’s Quijarro province […] is opposed to Chile using any of the water.

Source: BNamericas [subscription site], 06 Apr 2009

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