Indigenous water rights in Peru

Report from Rosa Cardenas Inquiltupa, Master Programme in Indigenous Studies, University of Tromsø
Prosjekt 200601873-10

Financial support to the project: “Indigenous Water Resources Rights – A Case Study Of Chinchero Quechua People from Urbamba Cusco, Peru”
This project deals with social impact issues on indigenous territory in the Chinchero District. In particular, I focus on the exclusion of Quechua people from their traditional water resources in Lake Piuray, Chinchero Urubamba (Cusco). More precisely, ‘Indigenous peoples’ right to water’. From a judicial perspective this discussion will be extended to the understanding of the legal norms found in ILO 169, (Art. 14, and 15 ILO C169), “Water Law and Indigenous Rights” (WALIR). It sets out to analyse water rights in the traditional management modes of indigenous peoples and local communities as compared to the contents of current national legislation.

Fieldwork in Peru I

Fieldwork in Peru I

The present population of Chinchero 1 is located in an old pre-Hispanic town and constitutes one of the most representative examples of Andean cultural resistance. When dealing with the issue of water one has to consider culture, territory and language, which are still very relevant in social situations and in the livelihood of a culture. It relates to the wisdom and preservation of water, a knowledge which has not been spread enough.

I consider that the laws in favour of indigenous peoples must be used when they are required and necessary for the respect of indigenous peoples. One of my main objectives will be to inquire about this viewpoint. How could the ILO Convention No. 169 warrant the rights to water of the indigenous population in Chinchero? (Art. 14 and 15 of ILO C169), “Water Law and Indigenous Rights” (WALIR) I can easily see the important roles laws played in our local communities as well as, in a more global scale ILO 169, explained in terms of an international protecting law and as instrumental theory for Indigenous peoples.

It is critically important to analyse the political exclusion determinant which sheds light on the policy of undermining Indigenous peoples rights to water in Peru, a practice that shuts them out of the economic affair in the country.

Traditional water management, with its own rules and regulations, is a very fascinating subject but is in danger of extinction, through state policies. Likewise, private and public companies violate Indigenous Rights. Presently, the water from Lake Piuray, which belongs to the territories of the Indigenous people of Chinchero, is used by third parties and is administered by the water company SEDA CUSCO 2.

Fieldwork in Mexico III

Fieldwork in Mexico III

In order to come to terms more easily with my fieldwork, I located the main actors or informants in social areas (Indigenous peoples from the communities of Chinchero) and in political areas (state institutions). I interviewed private persons, state institution functionaries and community leaders from the affected district of Chinchero. I had obtained information from the Ministry of Agriculture, Institute of Environmental Issues (IMA), Seda Cusco Water Company, Quality Water Control Institution (Sunass), Municipal Government of Chinchero and the Health Centre of Chinchero. I have also used informants from Indigenous organizations.

Fieldwork IV

Fieldwork IV

Most of the communities don’t have water for daily use; some have 1 hour of water a day and some only half an hour. Most use spring water but much of it has dried out due to global worming and shifts in the ecosystems. Indigenous peoples demand control of their resources and the adoption of corrective measures to obtain legal shelter.

Despite the fact that the Lake of Piuray, located in the District of Chinchero, is the main water supplier to Cusco (88,28% of the total production of this lake is consumed by Cusco citizens) the company CEDA CUSCO, which administers the above mentioned supply of water,  has denied the use of this resource to the citizens of Chinchero.



  • Chinchero has 20 communities with a population of 10,349 according to the last census of  2005. Tilbake
  • Translated from source: www. propuesta/ DNPP/ directives/ 2004/ entidades_005.EPS SEDACUSCO S.A. is a municipal (public) company.  Like other companies providing sanitation services, its private rights are regulated by Resolution of Supervision no. 26-95-pres/vmi/sss released on March 3, 1995. This Resolution also determines its responsibility to serve the provinces of Cusco, Anta Paucartambo and Urubamba. However, actually at the present the company offers services to the localities of Cusco, Huarocondo, Paucartambo and Urubamba, with a total population of 307,240. Tilbake



Read the thesis online – Munin

About Siri Johnsen

Hovedtillitsvalgt for Akademikerne UiT, Norges arktiske universitet, januar 2006-januar 2017
This entry was posted in Master and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.