January 30 2006
Law 58/2005 of December 29 2005 establishes a new institutional framework for water management policy in Portugal. The aim of the new law is to provide the means for the sustainable management and protection of water resources. Its measures are to be implemented by regional water management authorities administering territories based on Portugal's river basins.
The new water management regime will:
The Water Framework Law transposes the EU Water Management Framework Directive (2000/60/EC). Like the directive, it provides an administrative structure for future measures in the field of water management and water source protection.
It also creates or reorganizes a number of public authorities to assist in the planning and execution of measures for sustainable water use. Among these authorities are the new river basin administrations and the restructured National Water Institute (INAG). The law provides for the creation of river basin districts, administrative regions centred on river basins. Some of the districts are international; many of Portugal's larger rivers rise in or flow through Spain.
The law identifies various instruments for water resource planning and development and determines their respective areas of intervention.
The INAG has primary responsibility for issuing planning instruments, namely:
In keeping with what is now a central principle of Portuguese environmental legislation, all water sector stakeholders are welcome to participate in the approval and execution of the National Water Master Plan and other water management plans.
The law provides for an additional set of measures for the systematic protection and improvement of water resources, to be implemented by the river basin administrations in cooperation with municipalities and private landowners. It also sets out rules and obligations for the use of water resources in accordance with precautionary principles of sustainable and efficient management. The river basin administrations will be responsible for granting licences for activities such as water extraction and assessing the appropriate charge for each licence granted for (i) the use of public domain water resources and (ii) activities which may have a negative impact on the quality and quantity of water resources.
Further regulations will be necessary in order to implement the financing, supervision and enforcement rules of this new water management framework. Nevertheless, the new law is a step forward in the definition and implementation of a sustainable water policy and water management system in Portugal, providing the necessary basis for the consistent and successful preservation of this most precious of nature's gifts.
For further information on this topic please contact Alberto Galhardo Simões at Miranda Correia, Amendoeira & Associados by telephone (+351 21 781 4800) or by fax (+351 21 781 4802) or by email (Alberto.GalhardoSimoes@mirandalawfirm.com).
ILO provides online commentaries as specialist Legal Newsletters. Written in collaboration with over 500 of the world's leading experts and covering more than 100 jurisdictions, it delivers individually requested information via email to an influential global audience of law firm partners and international corporate counsel. Please click here to register for the service.
The materials contained on this website are for general information purposes only and are subject to the disclaimer.
ILO is a premium online legal update service for major companies and law firms worldwide. In-house corporate counsel and other users of legal services, as well as law firm partners, qualify for a free subscription. Register at www.iloinfo.com.