Government Measures Regarding Water, Sewerage & Sanitation utilities 

March, 2020 - Carlos Umana

Within the framework of the State of Economic, Social and Ecological Emergency declared by the National Government through Decree 417 of 2020, by means of Decree 441 of 2020, the National Government ordered the following with respect to public water, sewage and sanitation services:

(i) Any individual or legal entity providing the public domestic water utility who has residential users whose service have been suspended and/or cut off - except for those who were suspended because of connection or service fraud - shall immediately reinstall and/or reconnect the public domestic water utility, free of charge to the users.

In this case, the utility providers will assume the cost of reinstallation and/or reconnection of the service. In any case, the utility providers can coordinate contributions from local authorities for this purpose. In any case, the decree provides the faculty to determine the terms and conditions for reinstallation and/or reconnection to the Water and Basic Sanitation Regulation Commission (“CRA”, pre its acronym in Spanish).


  1. ii) The municipalities and districts shall effectively ensure access to drinking water through aqueducts and/or differential schemes through the service providers operating in each municipality or district.


With respect to the above, if it is not possible to ensure access to drinking water through aqueduct or differential schemes, they shall guarantee it through alternative means of supply (inter alia, tank cars, bottled drinking water, and collapsible tanks).

In any case, the alternative means must be coordinated by the municipalities, districts, and departmentswith the utility providers, for which purpose they must (i) ensure basic consumption, (ii) maintain quality criteria for drinking water, and (iii) avoid agglomerations of people.

(iii) With respect to the financing of these policies, during the term of the declaration of a health emergency, the territorial entities may ensure access to drinking water by allocating the necessary resources from the General System of Shares (Sistema General de Participaciones) to finance alternative means of supply.

  1. iv) Finally, the providers of the water utility will not be able to update the rates they charge to users in application of the variations of the price indexes established in Law 142 of 1994. This, during the term of the sanitary emergency declaration.

The content of the Decree can be consulted in the following link:



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