Text of the Constitutional Reform
approved on 31 October 2004
Water is a natural resource essential to life.
Access to drinking water and sewage system services, constitute a fundamental human right.
1) National Water and Sewage System policies will be based on:
a) territorial legislation, conservation, protection of the environment and the restoration of nature;
b) the sustainable, joint management of water resources with future generations and the preservation of the water cycle subjects of collective interest. Users and civil society, will participate in every instance of planning, management and control of water resources; establishing water basins as basic unities;
c) the establishment of priorities for the use of water by regions, basins or parts of these, will be the first priority in supplying drinking water to the population;
d) the principle by which drinking water and sewage system services are lent, must prioritise social and economic reasons. Every authorisation, concession or permission that in any way violates these principles will be abandoned without result.
2) Superficial water, like subterranean water, with the exception of rain water, integrated in the water cycle, constitute a collective resource, subordinated to the collective interest, which forms part of the public state domain, as the public water domain.
3) The public service of the sewage system and the supply of water for human consumption will be provided exclusively and directly by legal state representatives.
4) The law, by a three-fifths vote of the total in each chamber, can authorise the supply of water to another country, when it is not in supply or out of solidarity.
The dispositions of this article (referring to mixed economic associations) will not be applicable to the essential services of drinking water and the sewage system.
Transitory and Special Dispositions
Z’’) The reparation that will correspond with the coming into force of this reform, will not generate indemnification for redundant gain, pocketing only investments that have not been redeemed.
Source: Uruguay: Direct Democracy in Defence of the Right to Water. Carlos Santos & Alberto Villareal, REDES-Amigos de la Tierra Uruguay. Accessed on 23 August 2015.