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Abstract

X. Quñones. Access limitation to water right in indigenous communities of Villarrica, Región de La Araucanía, Chile. This study analyzes the availability of water rights to be used in irrigation for Indigenous farms in Chile. The state agricultural develoment policy has as a main instrument, the incorporation of irrigation in order to increase the farm profitability, and thus, the quality of life for families. However, the public investment in irrigation requires to the applicants to have water rights legally constituted. Recent studies show that in La Araucanía the Mapuche communities have a limited access to water rights. Several reasons explain this issue, including that in 1993, when the Indígena Law was enacted, a grant was created in order to grant water rights to the Indian people. In that time, the Water Code had 12 years in force, and most of the water surfaces of La Araucanía had been requested. To this, restrictions are added to the water market for the resources´s redistribution, as well as alternative water uses with a more profitable aims such as tourism and urban consumption. However, some alternatives arise to facilitate the access of Mapuche families to water rights, such as the nature reserve of the Toltén River Basin, and the registration of groundwater, which could be objects of specific public policies.

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