Water Law in Moldova has been harmonized with European Union legislation

November 28, 2023

The amendment bill for Water Law No. 272 of 23.12.2011, developed by the Ministry of the Environment with the support of Sweden and UNDP Moldova, was recently adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova in second reading.

The legislative framework in the new edition aims, first of all, to adopt the efficient management and prevention of the pollution of surface waters and groundwaters, based on evaluations, planning and decisions, in a transparent manner. For this purpose, the law was harmonized with European Union directives in the water sector, supplemented by regulations on protected areas and hydrotechnical constructions. Also, new notions were introduced, as well as amendments regarding the State Water Cadaster.

Among the main provisions of the law is that lakes, rivers owned by the state, can be put into use by individuals and legal entities only for a certain period and are not to be owned. Any transfer into use will be carried out based on a transparent public tender, with revenues from the use of water bodies being transferred to the state or local budget.

The amendments also provide for a reduction in the term of the environmental permit for special water use from 12 years to 6 years and from 25 years to 12 years in the case of commitments to invest long-term in construction or improvement. Also, the attributions of public authorities responsible for the management and protection of water resources, especially those of the Environment Agency, were reviewed. Given that the Environment Agency is an important institution in the field of management and protection of water resources, the law outlines its main attributions, including setting limits for water use, limiting values for discharges of pollutants into surface waters depending on the existing degree of pollution, issuing or withdrawing environmental authorization for special use of water, and ensuring an efficient monitoring system of surface and groundwater quality.

Another provision of the law refers to the storage of information from the Register of Hydrotechnical Constructions and the Register of Protected Areas in the Automated Information System, "State Water Cadaster," to ensure an integrated and efficient informational system.

To reduce water pollution, the law was brought into line with regulations on strategic environmental assessment, environmental impact assessment, and biodiversity assessment, which will ensure the prevention of negative consequences on water and, implicitly, on the health of the population from the planning stages of public or private projects. Also, the regulation of water sampling requirements was revised and brought into line with the provisions of the law on drinking water quality. The analysis of water samples will be carried out exclusively in accredited laboratories, which will increase their credibility.

The amendment bill for the Water Law no. 272 of 23.12.2011 was developed by the Ministry of the Environment with the support of the UNDP Moldova project "Supporting the Moldovan authorities in the sustainable management of the Nistru River", financed by Sweden.