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Agua y Saneamientos Argentinos

Argentine Water and Sanitation S.A.
Native name
Agua y Saneamientos Argentinos S.A.
Company typeS.A.
FoundedMarch 2006; 17 years ago (2006-03)
FounderNéstor Kirchner
Area served
Buenos Aires autonomous city
Greater Buenos Aires
Key people
Malena Galmarini (President)
ProductsDrinking water, sewer service
OwnerGovernment of Argentina
Number of employees
8,000[1] (2022)
ParentMinistry of Interior

Argentine Water and Sanitation (Spanish: Agua y Saneamientos Argentinos, mostly known for its acronym AySA) is a state-owned company of Argentina dedicated to supplying the public with running water and sewer services. Created in 2006 after the Government of Argentina rescinded the contract with "Aguas Argentinas", a corporate group that had granted concession during the Carlos Menem's administration in the 1990s. This way, 90% of the company remained under the control of the Ministry of the Interior, Public Works and Housing,[2] later falling into the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Public Works when it was reformed back into its own ministerial portfolio.[3]

AySA's operation area includes the Buenos Aires autonomous city and 25 partidos of Greater Buenos Aires. As of May 2022, the company had 8,000 employees.[1]



In 1824 the government of Buenos Aires, under the administration of Bernardino Rivadavia, took out an international loan from Baring Brothers to build the port of Buenos Aires and the construction of a potable water system in the city. Nevertheless, those works were never carried out.[4]

On July 18, 1912, "Obras Sanitarias de la Nación" (OSN) was established by Law 8,889 as part of the first Sanitation Plan of 1909 under the presidency of Roque Sáenz Peña. OSN began to expand its area of operation, reaching cities outside Buenos Aires Province. By 1910, 14 capital cities of Argentina had a running water system, with four of them also including sewer system.

After Perón was deposed by the Revolución Libertadora in 1955, the investments decreased abruptly, leaving the preventive maintenance behind. From then on, only urgent works were carried out, resulting in a deterioration of the service, also affected by the rampant inflation in the country. Since the 1960s, OSN associated with local cooperative companies that supply services to small cities (less than 50,000 people each), decentralising operations. In 1973, under the Héctor Cámpora administration, a plant was built in General Belgrano to supply areas of the Buenos Aires south region. Works finished in 1975.[5]

In 1980, all the water services were transferred to the provinces, with Obras Sanitarias focusing only in Buenos Aires.


The government of Carlos Menem carried out a plan of privatization that included OSN, granting concession to "Aguas Argentinas", a corporation group formed by French-owned Suez Environnement, and Spanish Aguas de Barcelona and Banco Galicia. The contract set a term of 20 years of concession, then extended during the government of Fernando de la Rúa.[6]

The OSN debts were not absorbed by Aguas Argentinas, leaving them to the Argentine state. OSN was dissolved in August. Through decree n° 999/92, the rates were increased 74%.[7] The service quality decreased in several cities of Greater Buenos Aires, with no new investments from the company. Maintenance works ceased in order to save costs.[8] From May 1993 to January 2002, rates for residential user increased 88%.[9]

After the 2001 economic crisis, the company suspended payments to suppliers, with USD 57 million debts in payment to suppliers and 102 million in debts to the Argentine state, plus AR$ 97 million in unpaid debts.[10]

Concession revoked and nationalization

According to a study by the Auditor General of Argentina, only 12% of the water was treated by Aguas Argentinas, with the rest poured to the river in Berazategui district.[11] After having found fraudulent invoices for non-existent works carried out and false addresses given,[12] the contract was revoked by the Néstor Kirchner administration in March 2006.[13]

As a result, the 90% of the company became state-owned, with a 10% handed by its employees. By 2015, sewerage system reached 7,207,546 people.[14]

In 2019, Malena Galmarini was appointed president of AySA, becoming the first woman to preside over the company.[15]

See also


  1. ^ a b La empresa con más empleados en el país es estatal: Trenes Argentinos at Clarín, 8 May 2022
  2. ^ "Privatización del agua y el saneamiento en Argentina: El caso paradigmático de Aguas Argentinas S.A." 7 June 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  3. ^ "AySA: Galmarini y Katopodis recorrieron planta potabilizadora". Ámbito (in Spanish). 18 December 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  4. ^ El servicio público de agua potable y saneamiento by CARLOS HERMANN GÜTTNER on InfoJus
  5. ^ Akhmouch A. (2004) "La privatisation des services publics argentins au coeur d'enjeux géopolitiques, conflits et rivalités territoriales. Le cas de la concession d'eau et d'assainissement dans la province de Mendoza", Tesis de Posgrado, Universidad de Paris 8, 174 p.
  6. ^ Ducci, Jorge. “Salida de operadores privados internacionales de agua en América La-tina”. BID Washington D.C., 2007
  7. ^ Comisión de Renegociación de Contratos de Obras y Servicios Públicos: Informe Final, Fase II, Sector Agua y Saneamiento, noviembre 2002, Buenos Aires, 70 p.
  8. ^ Jofré, José Luis. "Empresas Públicas: De estatales a privadas", on Revista anual de Sociología Nº 6, year 3, Editorial de la Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales, National University of Cuyo (2007)
  9. ^ Privatización del sistema de agua y saneamiento en Buenos Aires : historia de un fracaso by Daniel Azpiazu and Karina Forcinito
  10. ^ AZPIAZU, D. 2010. "Privatización del agua y el saneamiento en Argentina: El caso paradigmático de AguasArgentinas S.A.", Vértigo magazine, serie N° 7, June 2010
  11. ^ "Informe sobre el servicio de agua corriente en la zona metropolitana", Auditoría General de la Nación. Published on February 13, 2004, p 17
  12. ^ Quién es más trucho, Página/12, 16 Sep 2004
  13. ^ Kirchner le rescindió el contrato a Aguas Argentinas
  14. ^ ObrasHídricas más de dos millones de habitantes se incorporaron al servicio de agua y cloacas on Minuto Uno, 15 Aug 2015
  15. ^ "Malena Galmarini es la primera mujer que preside AySA y la secunda un intendente". Télam (in Spanish). 12 December 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
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Agua y Saneamientos Argentinos
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