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WATER LEGISLATION FOUNDATION

Source:  Water legislation basics // Molotov V.S. The Baikal Region Water Resources Preservation and Usage: Handbook / V.S. Molotov, Ye.Zh. Garmayev, O.P. Kolomeyets, A.V. Turunkhayev. Ulan Ude, 2002. p. 29-37

In accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation its water legislation is under the jurisdiction of both the Russian Federation and its subjects.

Water legislation of the Russian Federation consists of the Russian Federation Water Code and federal laws and other normative legislation acts adopted in accordance with it as well as laws and other normative legislation acts of the Russian Federation subjects.

Laws and other normative legislation acts of the Russian Federation subjects regulation water relations should not contradict the present Code and federal laws adopted in accordance with it.

In case of contradiction between the federal law regulating water relations and another act adopted in the Russian Federation, the federal law is in force.

Water legislation of the Russian Federation regulates the relations in the area of usage and preservation of water objects and is aimed at providing the rights of the citizens to clean water and favourable water environment; keeping up the optimal conditions of  water usage and quality of surface and underground water in the condition answering sanitary and ecological requirements; protecting water objects from pollution, choking up and exhaustion; preventing or eliminating the waters harmful influence as well as preserving water systems biological diversity.

The aims of the water legislation are being realized on the ground of the sustainable development principle, i.e. balanced economic development and improvement of the natural environment state.

The conditions of the transition period from planned economics to the market one cause the necessity of forming the appropriate water legislation. The normative and legal documents applied in the sphere worked out in 1960-1990 have become out-of-date. Besides in the recent years new problems have appeared requiring normative regulation. There is a necessity to bring the water legislation in accordance with the changed conditions as well as to improve some theses of that sphere of the Russian legislation.

On October 18, 1995 the head act, the new Water Code, was adopted by the State Duma, which stated the legal grounds of the water objects usage and protection as well as legally consolidated the changes which had taken place in the water relations of the transition period.

The new Russian Federation Water Codes peculiarity is the fact that it has some theses on referring the water legislation to the joint jurisdiction of the Russian Federation and its subjects, compulsory licensing of the water usage and making a well-grounded agreement of the water consumer with an executive body; there is also the right to water objects ownership; the water resources require payment and economic incentive to their rational usage, reproduction and protection. The law also highlights triunity of the waters significance as the object regulating the water relations: water is an object of nature, management or usage and ownership. In addition the primary meaning is given to water as the most important component of nature, then as an object of management and then as an object of the ownership right. Thus, the law underlines the ecological (the foundation of life) and economic (the foundation of peoples activity) aspects of the waters usage and protection.

Alongside with the Water code the system of water legislation includes federal laws, the Federation subjects laws, the Russian Federation Presidents edicts, the Russian Federation Government resolutions, departmental normative acts of the Russian Federation subjects executive bodies and the local authorities acts.

Some groups of water relations are regulated not only by the norms of water legislation but  also by other branches of it. In such cases priorities of this or that branch are stated. By regulating the rational usage and protection of the water objects water legislation has the priority over other nature-resource branches of law touching on similar relations.

Adoption of the Water Code promoted activization of the legal regulation of water relations. There is systematic work to correct the previously adopted legal acts, to prepare and adopt new normative and legal acts giving concrete expression of its theses based on the principles of the concept  of the Russian Federation transition to the sustainable development model, the thesis about the priority of the international law norms in regulating water relations and using international experience in the field of water management; to introduce changes and additions into  a number of acts by other branches of legislation; to organize registration of water factor during working out of the departmental normative acts of other departments touching on the interests of water resources reproduction and protection.

Nowadays there is a number of the Russian Federation laws and resolutions which have given the bodies of the Russian Federation Natural Resources Ministry the main key factors of managing the water objects usage and protection for ensuring their tasks and functions.

The Russian Federation laws:

        On Hydrotechnical Constructions Security (July 21, 1997; # 7-3);

        On the Payment for Water Objects Usage (May 6, 1998; # 71-3);

        On Introducing Changes and Additions into the Federal Law On the Payment for Water Usage Objects (August 7, 2001; # 1-3)

The Russian Federation Government resolutions:

        On Approval of the Rules of Allocation of State Property Water Objects Usage, Stating and Revision of the Water Usage Limits, Water Usage Licensing and Administrative License (April 3, 1997; # 383);

        On the Procedure of Licensing Surface Water Usage during Peat and Sapropel Extraction (January 27, 1998; # 316);

        On the Approval of Regulations of Water Objects Usage and Protection State Control (June 16, 1997; # 716);

        On the Approval of the Regulations of  Introducing State Water Objects Monitoring (March 14, 1997; # 307);

        On Organizing State Supervision of Hydrotechnical Constructions Security (October 16, 1997; # 1320);

        On the Order of Organizing and Carrying Out of the State Expert Examination (September 4, 1997; # 1040);

        On the Order of  Working Out and Coordinating State Expert Examination and Approval and Carrying Out the Schemes of Water Resources Complex Usage and Preservation (September 13, 1997; # 1097);

        On Keeping the State Water Cadastre of the Russian Federation (November 23, 1996; # 1403);

        On the Order of Water Reservoirs Exploitation (June 20, 1997; # 762);

        On the Measures of Providing Sustainable Functioning of Inner Waterways of Russia (August 14, 1997; # 881);

        On the Order of  Working Out and Approving the Standards of Harmful Effects on Water Objects Admissible Limits (December 19, 1998; # 1504);

        On Approving Regulations on Raising and Spending Funds of the Federal Water Objects Restoration and Protection Fund (August 20, 1999; # 934);

        On Approving the Minimum and Maximum Payment Rates for Usage of  Water Objects in River Basins, Lakes, Seas and Economic Regions (November 28, 2001; # 826);

A special article is included into the adopted federal law On Introducing the Russian Federation Criminal Code (June 13, 1996; # 64-3) on responsibility for pollution, obstruction or exhaustion of  surface or bottom waters or sources of drinking water.

Other normative and legal acts are being prepared which are envisaged by the plan of their working out adopted in 1996. Scientific and research organizations of different departments  and territorial bodies of the Russian Natural Resources Ministry take part in this great and important work.

Special attention should be paid to the Federal law On Lake Baikal Protection which is the only adopted law in Russia devoted to a single natural object. Its adoption is caused by the lake uniqueness which has got the status of a World natural heritage object. The law defines legal, economic and organizational basics of providing the lake and its basins natural complex protection and reproduction on the ground of optimization of its natural resources usage conditions including water resources, too.

The law is a frame one and for its realization working out of a number of normative legal acts is envisaged. The Russian Federation Government resolutions have been adopted On Forming Ecological Zones of the Baikal Natural Territory and Informing the Population about the Borders of the Baikal Natural Territory, Its Ecological Zones and about the Peculiarities of the Ecological Zones Regime (# 661 of  September 6, 2000), On Adopting the List of Activities Prohibited in the Central Ecological Zone of the Baikal Natural Territory (# 643 of August 30, 2001), On the Limits of the Water Level of Lake Baikal during Economic and Other Activity (# 234 of March 26, 2001).

A new variant of the admissible effects level standards for Lake Baikal ecological system is being prepared, for the previous one became invalid in 1998.

Adoption of the law On Lake Baikal Protection gives the opportunity to form an efficient legal base in the Baikal region, and legislation in the sphere of water relations regulation should be its main component.

Within the framework of the federal water legislation the legal field of the Russian Federation subjects is being formed which allows to regulate water relations taking into consideration the concrete social, economic and ecological situation.

Thus, in the Republic of Buryatia the normative and legal base on water objects usage and protection is being formed after adoption of the Water Code, which should answer modern requirements. The following laws and resolutions have been adopted:

        the Republic of Buryatia law On the Water Objects Usage Payment (December 28, 1998; # 88-);

        the Republic of Buryatia Government resolution On Adopting the Regulations of the Order of Concession of the Right to Use the Surface Water Objects, Stating and Revising the Limits of the Water Usage (August 16, 1997; # 300);

        the Republic of Buryatia Government resolution On Adopting the Regulation Concerning the State and Public Control over Water Objects Usage and Protection on the Republic of Buryatia Territory (October 23, 1997; # 363);

        the Republic of Buryatia Government resolution On the Purpose Budget Fund of the Mineral and Raw Base Reproduction and Water Objects Reconstruction and Protection (March 22, 1999; # 108);

        the Republic of Buryatia Government resolution On Adopting the Basic Regulations of Introducing the Special Conditions of Economic Activity  on the Territories Affected by Flooding and Erosions (July 23, 1997; # 274);

        the Republic of Buryatia Government resolution On the Measures Concerning Carrying Out the Agreement On Special Powers in the Field of Rational Usage and Protection of Lake Baikal and Its Basin Water Resources (June 17, 1996; # 218);

Besides, the Republic of Buryatia law is adopted On Protection of the Republic of Buryatia Population and Territory from Emergency Situations of Natural and Technogenic Character (January 26, 1999; # 98-11).

Adoption of new head law is presupposed, the law On Water Relations Regulating to develop the morally outdated law On Water. The distinguished feature of water usage in the Republic of Buryatia is the fact that a bigger part of its territory is situated in the Baikal basin. In connection with that, unlike other regions, stricter ecological demands are made of the republic water resources usage and protection. These demands are determined in the regional Standards of acceptable effects on Lake Baikal ecological system within the years of 1987-1995 the validity of which was prolonged until 1999. Nowadays new Standards are being worked out.

To reduce the damage produced by negative natural processes the republic was the first to work out and adopt the Republic of Buryatia Government resolution The Basic Regulations of Introducing Special Conditions of Economic Activity on the Territories Affected by Flooding and Erosions .

The Principal rules of usage of the Angara-Yenissei hydropower stations cascade water resources are being remade, Ecological Requirements to the Irkutsk Hydropower Station Working Conditions. Ecological zones and regulations of economic activity in the territory of the Baikal region are being worked out, and the water factor will be taken into consideration.

Agreement documents are principally new forms of normative and legal regulating ecological and economic relations of the Russian Federation and the Federation subjects, as well as the Federation subjects interrelations. These agreements and contracts are results of Russias new state system consolidated by Article 5 of the Russian Federation Constitution, the right differentiating the jurisdiction and powers of the Russian Federation state power bodies and the Russian Federation subjects bodies. In accordance with the above mentioned Constitution article the federation subjects build their relations with the central power bodies on the foundation of agreements and other contracts. The necessity to conclude such contracts is conditioned by the fact that the question of the natural resources ownership has not been regulated yet, and the methods of coordinated managing of natural resources is default.

The first attempt of such cooperation is the Agreement signed in 1992 by the authorities of the Irkutsk and Chita region, the Republic of Buryatia and the Russian Federation Government, On the Joint Rational Usage, Reproduction and Protection of Water Resources, Water Objects Restoration, as well as Water Economic Activity Coordination on Lake Baikal Basin Territory.

By 1995 the number of participants had increased, Tyva, Khakassia, the Krasnoyarsk territory, Ust-Ordynsky Buryat, Taimyrsky and Evenkiisky autonomous okrugs had joined the agreement, its operative zone and the number of problems in question had broadened. The sides agreed to unite their efforts to work out and coordinate their policy, strategy and programme in the field of preventing or limiting water pollution and nature environment including water objects as well as in the field of optimal usage of the water reservoirs of the Angara-Yenissei hydropower stations cascade and  of Lake Baikal; they also agreed not to act unilaterally in their territories limiting other sides rights. Priority measures of general and special character were worked out for 1995.

The agreement has been in force until present time. Every year its participants sum up the results of the agreement and the activities realization, they sign protocols concerning the agreement realization and adopt the general basin and regional activities for the next year.

Solving the problems of water objects usage and protection is presupposed within the frames of 1995 Agreement of the Russian Federation Government and the Republic of Buryatia Government On Special Powers in the Field of Lake Baikal and Its Basin Water Resources Rational Usage and Protection, 1998 Agreement on social-economic cooperation of the Irkutsk region administration and the Republic of Buryatia Government for 1998-2000.

The agreements are mostly declarative, because the activities worked out in them are underfinanced both by the Russian Federation and the Republic of Buryatia budgets as well as by the ministries and departments, the responsibility of the sides is default.

However they play a certain positive role helping solve the problem of water relations regulation. Within the agreements the problems of the powers differentiation were being solved by the Angara-Baikal basin water administration, the natural resources committees of the Irkutsk region and the Republic of Buryatia, the Baikal water committee in the sphere of water usage licensing, water economic expert examination, Lake Baikal level conditions regulation and state water control.

By means of the Basin agreement signed in 1999 the Republic of Buryatia Government and the Irkutsk region administration solved the problem of payment for Lake Baikal water resources used by the Irkutsk hydropower station for electric energy production and its distributing among the Russian Federation subjects budgets.

The system of normative and legal acts also includes programmes of usage and protection of water resources and providing the population and economic objects with quality water. The federal and regional programmes are the most important means of carrying out the structural state policy, they are worked out for complex solution of great urgent problems of the branch development in the territory. In the Republic of Buryatia The Complex Federal Programme of Lake Baikal Protection and Its Basin Natural Resources Rational Usage has been put into practice since 1995, which lets support a certain stability of Lake Baikal basin ecological situation. Within the programme a number of activities have been carried out which  provide decreasing of water objects  and Lake Baikal pollution and others. However a considerable part of the programmes activities in unfinished because of its underfinancing. The programme became invalid in 2000.

On December 7, 2001 the Federal specified programme The Natural Resources of Russia was adopted by the Russian Federation Government resolution # 760, and one of its sub-programmes is Providing the Baikal Natural Territory Natural Resources Rational Usage and Protection.

In 2000 the republican programme Providing the Republic of Buryatia Population with Drinking Water was corrected, and it was included into the Federal programme Providing the Population of Russia with Drinking Water. Since 2000 the priority activities realization has been started.

Putting the water legislation principles into practice, realization of the activities outlined and worked out by the federal programmes will promote rational usage and protection of the Russian Federation and its subjects water resources.











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