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-Chile, this long country that

borders southern Latin America.

 

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We are going to

 the Valparaiso region

 

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which alone concentrates

two thirds of

 

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the national

production of avocado.

 

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From Santiago, we drive

3 hours northbound

 

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and walk along hectares of orchards

of avocados to reach

 

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the province of Petorca.

 

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Guillermo Pena is a farmer;

 

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his family has cultivated this

land for three generations.

 

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-Before, we used to grow beans,

peas, potatoes, etc.

 

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In the 1980s,

 

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we started with the avocado tree.

 

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Not in large quantities;

 

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we started planting

little by little.

 

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First, we would sow in the middle

trees, then we increased.

 

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The avocado's profitability

is much higher

 

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to that of agriculture

traditional.

 

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-The avocado has replaced all the

traditional cultures.

 

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The life of the avocado

starts with a graft.

 

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It is then planted in the field

with an indispensable precaution:

 

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be planted at the top

of a small mound of earth.

 

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-The avocado tree has a root system

that don't go in depth.

 

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They go to the sides.

 

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The mound allows

to preserve moisture.

 

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We plant, and after three years,

the tree is capable of producing.

 

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The best production period

for the avocado tree,

 

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it's between his fourth

and tenth birthday.

 

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This is where it produces the most.

 

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Each tree produces 200 to 300 kilos

of fruit per year at least.

 

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-The fruits are harvested by hand

between July and November

 

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for export, but G. Pena

let his avocados mature

 

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longer and gives them

until we can get soaked in oil.

 

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-That's all we live on.

 

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We have no other activity,

 

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then we have to defend

the economic aspect.

 

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That's why we're harvesting

the following year, in March.

 

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This variety can remain on the tree

all this time.

 

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-When you harvest it,

the fruit is heavier?

 

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-They are heavier

and it's more advantageous for us.

 

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-More mature and more fragile;

 

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these fruits are sold

on the internal market.

 

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Guillermo is thus

able to cash in

 

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directly the price

of the production.

 

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But there is a problem

with this system: the

 

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drought that has been

raging since 2010.

 

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Before there was a river,

now dried up.

 

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-I see the drought

 

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for years.

 

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We are in an area where

where it doesn't rain much.

 

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If there are 400 mm per year,

we are satisfied.

 

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And if it's only 250 mm,

it's a little more difficult.

 

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But against the climate,

there's nothing we can do.

 

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If the drought continues,

 

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we'll have to stop

to water some trees.

 

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Cut them and reduce production.

 

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-Many European reports

have linked production

 

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of avocados

and the water issue.

 

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like German television or the

British newspaper The Guardian

 

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Bad publicity

that exporters

 

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would have preferred to avoid.

 

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As proof,

access to the packaging centre

 

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has been refused by all of us

the exporters contacted.

 

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The president of the association of

Chilean exporters

 

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explains why.

 

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-We don't trust

 

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in journalism that

is not serious.

 

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So yes, you're going to say

 

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that you will not be allowed in

to packaging.

 

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I'd rather see that than see

people making things up.

 

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For example, when,

 

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some say that to produce

 

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a kilo of avocados,

you need 2,000 litres of water.

 

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It's a shame.

from a technical point of view

 

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and a lie.

 

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Much less water is used

than any other.

 

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Maybe not all of them,

but we use 389 litres per kilo.

 

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-Once packaged

in a refrigerated container,

 

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avocados go to sea

towards the Panama Canal.

 

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They cross the Atlantic Ocean

in three weeks

 

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before reaching a European port.

 

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-In Petorca, we quickly understood

that the government

 

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wanted us to put forward

a certain version of the story.

 

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They insisted that we meet

Guillermo Correa.

 

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Coming from a family of farmers,

 

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he owns 1,500 hectares

of agricultural land.

 

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There is no shortage of water

and insists on showing us

 

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its state-of-the-art

irrigation system

 

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and the brand new outfits

of its employees.

 

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He is proud to tell us

which he redistributes

 

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water that he saves through this

system to rural communities.

 

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-We created a circular economy.

 

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People work in our fields

 

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so if you help your employees,

 

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you help your company and this help

is retroactive for everyone.

 

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That's why we make donations

to the community.

 

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It's part of the business.

 

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-He's not telling us they're not

than two in the province

 

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to give back some of their water.

 

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But his position is hardening

when it comes to discussing

 

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the origin of the water problem.

 

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-The major producers

don't steal water,

 

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they are constantly monitored.

 

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We all need to regularize, not just

the little ones or the big ones.

 

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-For you, where does the

water theft come from?

 

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-I'm not going to say it on camera.

 

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Turn off the camera

and I'll explain.

 

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-He insinuates that

the problem does

 

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not come from not

major producers,

 

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but small farmers

that would pump water

 

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without having bought the rights.

 

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We have heard from

another version of the story

 

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by meeting the inhabitants

and small producers.

 

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Roberto is a farmer.

 

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For nearly 30 years, he managed

a well for farmers.

 

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-It's been 15 years since we lost

 

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our lifeblood.

 

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-The canal brought water

to farmers.

 

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Once dry, they dug up

a well, which also dried up.

 

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Farmers share

the 15 liters per second

 

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let them stay

in their little well.

 

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They could never buy themselves

more water rights.

 

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-We make a distribution.

 

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Each farmer

 

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has a 2-hour weekly shift.

 

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This way, we can keep alive

the trees we have left.

 

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-In Chile, water has been

privatized since 1981.

 

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An action taken by the plan

Pinochet's dictatorship.

 

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Exploitation rights

are granted to some,

 

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then sold on a market

like any other good.

 

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With drought, the price of water

has reached new heights.

 

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And a perpetual right

of one liter/second

 

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costs nearly 22'000

Swiss francs.

 

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The small-scale producers like

Roberto are begin strangled.

 

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-I only have a liter.

 

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and a half per second

 

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to water 14 hectares.

 

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-Is that enough for you?

-No.

 

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-How many of the 70 families

have left agriculture?

 

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-50%.

 

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About 50%.

 

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-An untenable

situation that

 

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Roberto has been

denouncing for years.

 

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Ricardo, his neighbor,

has a 20 ha plot of land.

 

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For him, water problems

are due to drought

 

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but also made worse by abuses

of some producers.

 

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-In 2004, I denounced my neighbour

 

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who had made a drain

 

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in the river.

 

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He used to make wells

to transfer water.

 

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It affected me,

since I'm underneath.

 

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They made drains.

that go that far.

 

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My neighbour is O.

Junemann Gazmuri,

 

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brother-in-law of the former minister

from the Perez Yoma Interior.

 

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These plantations are from 2019.

 

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Last year, it rained 85 mm

in the province.

 

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It hadn't rained as

much as it used to.

 

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since 1968 in Petorca.

 

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Everyone knows we shouldn't

plant so many trees

 

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in such a dry year.

 

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The authorities say that that

everything is fine, but not for me.

 

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-Most producers

report a lack of control.

 

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But for associations

ecological,

 

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it is also necessary to take into

account the fact that in 30 years,

 

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dedicated agricultural areas

to avocado trees

 

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have increased tenfold,

especially on the mountainsides.

 

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-The avocado trees are planted

 

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on mounds

 

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in the direction of the slope.

 

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The water is drained and does not

pass through in groundwater,

 

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first water sources

for communities.

 

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So at the ecosystem level,

it's complicated.

 

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And soil erosion is not going

to recover before years

 

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without an adequate

development plan.

 

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-The culture of the avocado

on the mountainsides

 

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is not usual.

 

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That's because the terrain

gets hotter as it gets higher,

 

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which avoids them

getting frostbite.

 

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These plantations can be found on

the flanks all over the province.

 

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-Here's the difference

between an avocado

 

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who's had enough water

 

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versus a avocado

who ran out of water.

 

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This one will go for export.

 

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And this one is sold on the market

internally at a very low price.

 

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The difference is abyssal.

 

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There are differences in form,

the caliber.

 

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You can also see black

inside; necrotic tissue,

 

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dead because of lack of hydration.

 

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Ten years ago, our entire harvest

was made up of great avocados.

 

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But today,

my orchard does not produce

 

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that 50% of the time

of the initial production.

 

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In some areas,

we get small calibers,

 

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because there's not

enough water left.

 

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The water we had is now

on the side of the mountains.

 

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I have pictures of swimming.

in this river.

 

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Before, water was enough

to water the avocados.

 

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-The lack of water has brought

together Ricardo and Rodrigo.

 

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The farmer and the

engineer agronomists

 

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have been working

together since 2007.

 

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Drying indicators

of watercourses,

 

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Rodrigo has launched

a movement for defence

 

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access to water, land

 

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and protection

of the environment.

 

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A difficult struggle

in this hypertensive context.

 

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-The consequences of the fight

 

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have entered my house.

 

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My partner got fired

from his work.

 

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I no longer work in the region

for the past five years,

 

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since I was convicted.

 

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I no longer work here,

while I'm an agronomist.

 

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There have been some

strange situations.

 

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We were followed, threatened;

our lives have changed.

 

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-They treated you

as criminals?

 

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-The argument used against us

 

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is that we are

of Eco-terrorists.

 

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But we are simple people

who love peace and life.

 

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-His fight has led to threats

of death and beatings.

 

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He spent a year

under police protection.

 

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Despite that, he never

thought to leave the

 

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struggle for what he

considers a human right

 

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-There has been a radical change

in the structure of production

 

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in the 1990s.

 

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Politicians and entrepreneurs

have arrived in the province.

 

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They bought on the flanks

at derisory prices.

 

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They have obtained water rights

dry rivers.

 

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They brought the water to the

sides to produce avocados

 

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for export.

 

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-For him, the State does not use

the prerogatives at his disposal.

 

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-The last water balance

in the country dates back to 1987.

 

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The institution responsible for

 

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of water has no idea

 

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how many water rights

she attributed, to whom

 

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or what quantities of water

flows into the country.

 

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In this way, water remains

subject to the market.

 

234

00:15:50,920 --> 00:15:54,749

Chile does not have the prerogative

 

235

00:15:54,924 --> 00:15:56,276

to guarantee access to water

 

236

00:15:56,451 --> 00:15:57,978

to the population as a human right

 

237

00:15:58,102 --> 00:15:59,192

or as a common law.

 

238

00:16:00,841 --> 00:16:04,999

-The General Directorate of Water

should regulate access to water.

 

239

00:16:05,582 --> 00:16:09,648

Controls, rare in recent years

years, exploded in 2018

 

240

00:16:09,984 --> 00:16:12,977

after the release of several

foreign reports.

 

241

00:16:14,717 --> 00:16:18,154

We meet the director

of the institution.

 

242

00:16:19,269 --> 00:16:21,660

-We are making a

significant effort.

 

243

00:16:22,191 --> 00:16:23,575

We lost time,

 

244

00:16:23,742 --> 00:16:26,293

but we have addressed this problem.

 

245

00:16:26,923 --> 00:16:30,923

We have made progress

in terms of controls.

 

246

00:16:31,202 --> 00:16:36,196

I think we're going to

in the right direction

 

247

00:16:36,315 --> 00:16:38,886

and that we will have a zone

where recently there were

 

248

00:16:40,280 --> 00:16:41,890

illegal water withdrawals.

 

249

00:16:42,741 --> 00:16:47,108

It's an extra effort.

to keep the pressure on over there.

 

250

00:16:48,016 --> 00:16:49,474

-Do you have sufficient resources?

 

251

00:16:49,785 --> 00:16:55,098

-They are limited,

because we have 52 controllers.

 

252

00:16:56,003 --> 00:16:57,785

-52 in the whole country?

-Yes.

 

253

00:16:58,033 --> 00:17:02,713

We would like to give

the opportunity to users

 

254

00:17:02,914 --> 00:17:06,234

to do with their own tools.

 

255

00:17:06,612 --> 00:17:10,452

We have more trust

to self-checking

 

256

00:17:10,751 --> 00:17:15,071

than the management we can

to do it ourselves,

 

257

00:17:15,311 --> 00:17:21,030

because we have more than a hundred

water sources in the country.

 

258

00:17:21,784 --> 00:17:27,220

Self-checking.

Rodrigo doesn't believe in it.

 

259

00:17:28,010 --> 00:17:32,518

He shows us an example, according

to him illegal, but tolerated.

 

260

00:17:32,765 --> 00:17:36,069

-It's an underground pumping well

 

261

00:17:36,223 --> 00:17:39,103

built on the riverbed.

 

262

00:17:39,918 --> 00:17:42,716

We see how a public good

 

263

00:17:43,212 --> 00:17:47,220

is at your disposal

of private interests.

 

264

00:17:47,785 --> 00:17:50,492

Here, they have been authorized

to draw water

 

265

00:17:50,517 --> 00:17:54,877

from a public good, the river,

to carry water

 

266

00:17:55,016 --> 00:17:59,084

to large agricultural lands

around.

 

267

00:18:00,267 --> 00:18:02,685

- If they have been authorized

to do so by the city hall,

 

268

00:18:02,933 --> 00:18:04,253

this is not always the case.

 

269

00:18:04,820 --> 00:18:09,987

The situation is tense,

as shown in these images.

 

270

00:18:10,824 --> 00:18:15,758

In February 2018, the mayor of

Petorca dismantles a pipe system

 

271

00:18:15,976 --> 00:18:18,238

on a public road built

without authorization.

 

272

00:18:18,750 --> 00:18:22,107

It belongs to G. Correa,

our model farmer.

 

273

00:18:27,743 --> 00:18:32,201

-In this country,

those who are wealthy

 

274

00:18:32,737 --> 00:18:35,316

believe they can do

 

275

00:18:35,832 --> 00:18:36,985

what they want.

 

276

00:18:38,058 --> 00:18:43,868

For them, there are no courts.

 

277

00:18:44,766 --> 00:18:47,926

For them, there are no sanctions.

 

278

00:18:48,721 --> 00:18:54,841

They get everything they want

and if they don't get it,

 

279

00:18:55,656 --> 00:18:56,936

they take it.

 

280

00:18:57,215 --> 00:19:02,369

I am sure I have acted

in my rightful right.

 

281

00:19:03,584 --> 00:19:07,032

I have no remorse

for doing it.

 

282

00:19:07,186 --> 00:19:10,810

Here, there is a paradox

of life: 120 litres

 

283

00:19:11,180 --> 00:19:14,691

of water is given

to an avocado tree

 

284

00:19:15,048 --> 00:19:17,945

and we only give 50 liters a day

to a human being.

 

285

00:19:18,079 --> 00:19:19,844

Do you think that's fair?

 

286

00:19:21,624 --> 00:19:27,602

-Fidel has 50 litres per day

to support himself.

 

287

00:19:28,203 --> 00:19:31,006

His cousin comes to help him

every day after work

 

288

00:19:31,244 --> 00:19:34,418

in this little house built

by their uncle.

 

289

00:19:35,306 --> 00:19:37,586

-We take care of the water.

 

290

00:19:37,806 --> 00:19:39,629

It is used when necessary.

 

291

00:19:41,132 --> 00:19:43,652

I accumulate water

 

292

00:19:43,851 --> 00:19:46,011

when I do the dishes.

 

293

00:19:46,193 --> 00:19:49,367

I must have a little

bit of it in reserve.

 

294

00:19:49,676 --> 00:19:51,515

to wash my hands.

 

295

00:19:51,904 --> 00:19:54,824

You have to keep water in the sink

 

296

00:19:54,985 --> 00:19:58,214

to give it to the chickens

or dogs.

 

297

00:19:58,544 --> 00:20:04,266

This little water must be recycled.

 

298

00:20:07,164 --> 00:20:12,484

The neighbour also had an orchard.

and it completely dried up.

 

299

00:20:12,745 --> 00:20:15,425

It's all dry.

 

300

00:20:15,744 --> 00:20:19,624

We replanted

in the hope that it will grow

 

301

00:20:19,824 --> 00:20:22,624

and it doesn't dry out.

 

302

00:20:24,155 --> 00:20:27,088

-They are supplied with supplies

by tanker truck for 10 years.

 

303

00:20:27,762 --> 00:20:31,413

The driver had to go today

fetch water

 

304

00:20:31,664 --> 00:20:34,806

higher up in the valley,

because the usual well was empty.

 

305

00:20:36,126 --> 00:20:39,968

-The truck brings water

twice a week.

 

306

00:20:42,211 --> 00:20:46,801

If we finish the water first,

we stay without it.

 

307

00:20:47,159 --> 00:20:50,016

In this way, we have water

to cook for ourselves,

 

308

00:20:50,219 --> 00:20:52,259

but no more.

 

309

00:20:52,736 --> 00:20:57,376

It's not enough to wash yourself.

or do other things.

 

310

00:20:57,588 --> 00:21:01,920

We are still short of water.

 

311

00:21:04,306 --> 00:21:07,786

It's a great anguish,

we suffer.

 

312

00:21:08,066 --> 00:21:11,186

With the little water in the well,

 

313

00:21:11,480 --> 00:21:14,360

we hope to water our trees,

 

314

00:21:14,739 --> 00:21:18,339

but if the well dries up,

the trees are dying.

 

315

00:21:18,559 --> 00:21:20,799

They're already almost dry.

 

316

00:21:21,078 --> 00:21:24,198

And we won't have enough water

to feed

 

317

00:21:24,517 --> 00:21:27,103

the few plants

that we have left.

 

318

00:21:28,729 --> 00:21:32,387

-It's been five years since the

government promised a new well

 

319

00:21:32,599 --> 00:21:34,868

to supply the hamlet

where Kathi's cousin lives.

 

320

00:21:35,657 --> 00:21:42,586

In the meantime, they are fighting

to keep their small crop.

 

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