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|Preparatory Study for the New Water Law of the Republic of Serbia|
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management/National Water Directorate
Miodrag Milovanović, B.S.C.E., Svetlana Varga, B.S.C.E. Slađana Milojković, B.S in Econ. and associates.
Serbia has extensive legislation that regulate its water sector. In addition to the Water Law and associated sub-legal acts, the water sector is addressed by legislation related to environmental protection, spatial planning, construction, local administration, utilities, mining, energy, agriculture, forestry, navigation, geological exploration, waste management, concessions, foreign investments, and the like. Nevertheless, this does not provide a sound basis for integrated water management in Serbia, consistent with the principles of sustainable development and those promoted by the EU.
Additionally, existing water legislation does not generally reflect a contemporary approach to environmental management, and consequently to water management, and is not in accord with EU legislation. As such, national water legislation requires harmonization with EU legislation, namely the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and other EU water-related directives.
In the coming years, Serbia needs to change its attitude toward water. Raising public awareness of the role and importance of water for social development should be a primary goal. Currently there is inadequate reliance on contemporary water management guidelines, a problem that would be solved if Serbia were to regulate its water sector in concert with EU legislation, including economic aspects. Namely, the prerequisites for unimpeded water sector operation and development can only be provided through cost-recovery-based pricing of water and water services, and through the implementation of the “polluter pays” principle.
The main objectives of the new Water Law are:
This long-term Study included numerous activities, such as:
Based on voluminous documentation and information compiled and reviewed, as well as on extensive consultations, JCI formulated a number of fundamental principles upon which up-to-date water legislation should be founded:
These basic principles have been incorporated into the new Water Law, as a precondition for the implementation of set objectives.