Water rights administration
Experiences issues and guidelines

FAO Legislative studies Series, Vol. 70

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ISBN : 9789251045480 EAN : 9789251045480
FAO

Because of the dynamic complexities of the quality and quantity aspects of the water cycle, the human interventions in it and the many historical, social, ecological, economic and political circumstances that influence the use of water resources, water laws are very complex and success in implementing and enforcing them, not only in developing countries, is extremely difficult to achieve. Probably the most complex challenge water laws pose is the administration of water rights, i.e., the granting of licenses, concessions, permits and other comparable legal titles for the abstraction of water from watercourses, lakes and other expanses of surface waters, and for the extraction of groundwater; and the granting of licenses, permits and other comparable legal instruments for the discharge of waste and wastewater directly or indirectly into a water body or onto the soil. A perhaps more formidable challenge still is monitoring the compliance of water users with the law in general and with the terms and conditions of such licenses and permits in particular. The difficulties stem from the complexities mentioned above, but also from the fact that in many cases legislation is drafted with limited regard for the institutional capacity to “absorb” it. This publication deals with the administration of water rights, yet some of its findings could be of use and relevance to other aspects of water resources legislation as well. In this report, when no specific term is used, “permit” refers to different kinds of water use or waste and wastewater discharge authorizations.