On 26 May 2022, the Constitutional Court of Guatemala held that the state company managing the water for Guatemala City had not infringed the right to health of the city’s population but highlighted the importance of secure water supply during the pandemic (exp. n°4699-2021).

The Human Rights Ombudsman had filed an amparo appeal against the Municipal Water Company of Guatemala City (EMPAGUA), arguing that the company was failing to fulfill its obligation to guarantee the home supply of drinking water service, in an adequate and continuous manner, which was particularly serious during the pandemic.

The Constitutional Court indicated that the claimant had not proven an imminent danger of EMPAGUA's non-compliance with its obligation to guarantee the water supply in Guatemala City. In addition, the court found that occasional service interruptions depended on conditions outside the scope of human decision, such as the level of rainfall in the city.

The court concluded that, although the right to health was not infringed, the state company must adapt its planning, administration, and service at the time it deems convenient, in such a way that people receive water service in their homes, to counteract the current pandemic situation, given that it is useful for health and for the proper care and hygiene of their homes. For instance, in cases where it noticed that there might be a possible shortage of drinking water, it should immediately send water pipes so as not to harm people's rights to life, health, and well-being.

Full text of the decision available at es