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Federal Water Act (Wasserhaushaltsgesetz, WHG) – Excerpts

Long title: Act on Managing Water Resources

In the version published on 12 November 1996 (Federal Law Gazette I p 1695), most recently amended by an Act of 3 May 2000 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 632)

Translation provided by Inter Nationes and reproduced with kind permission.


Table of Contents

Introductory Provision

Article 1 Material Area of Application

Part One Common Provisions for the Waters

Article 1a Principles
Article 2 Requirement for Permits and Approvals
Article 3 Usages
Article 4 Terms and Conditions of Usage
Article 5 Proviso
Article 6 Denial
Article 6a Supranational and International Requirements
Article 7 Permit
Article 7a Requirements for the Discharging of Waste Water
Article 8 Approval
Article 9 Approval Procedure
Article 9a Authorisation of Premature Start
Article 10 Subsequent Decisions
Article 11 Exclusion of Claims
Article 12 Revoking the Approval
Article 13 Use by Associations
Article 14 Plan Approval and Operating Plans under Mining Law
Article 15 Old Rights and Old Powers
Article 16 Registration of Old Rights and Old Powers
Article 17 Other Old Usages
Article 17a Usages not Requiring a Permit for Exercises and Trials
Article 18 Balancing Rights and Powers
Article 18a Obligations and Plans for Waste Water Disposal
Article 18b Building and Operating Waste Water Installations
Article 18c Authorisation of Waste Water Treatment Installations
Article 19 Protected Water Areas
Article 19a Licensing Pipeline Installations to Pump Substances Hazardous to Water
Article 19b Conditions and Provisions, Refusal of the Licence
Article 19c Revocation of the Licence
Article 19d Statutory Ordinances
Article 19e Existing Installations
Article 19f Coincidence of the Licence with Decisions under Commercial and Mining Law
Article 19g Installations for Handling Substances Hazardous to Water
Article 19h Determining Suitability and Authorising Construction Type
Article 19i Duties of the Operator
Article 19k Special Duties in Filling and Emptying
Article 19l Specialist Operations
Article 20 Compensation
Article 21 Monitoring
Article 21a Commissioning Planned Delegates for Water Pollution Control
Article 21b Tasks
Article 21c Duties of the User
Article 21d Statement on Decisions made by the User
Article 21e Right to Recitation
Article 21f Prohibition on Discrimination, Protection against Termination
Article 21g Special Ruling
Article 22 Liability for Changing the Property of the Water

Part Two Provisions for Surface Water

Section One Usages not Requiring a Permit

Article 23 General Usage
Article 24 Usage by Proprietors and Riparian Residents
Article 25 Usage for the Purposes of Fishing

Section Two Pollution Control

Article 26 Introduction, Storage and Transport of Substances
Article 27 Pollution Control Legislation

Section Three Upkeep and Development

Article 28 Extent of Upkeep
Article 29 The Burden of Upkeep
Article 30 Special Obligations in the Interest of Upkeep
Article 31 Development

Section Four Flood Basins

Article 32 Flood Basins

Part Three Provisions for Coastal Waters

Article 32a Usages not Requiring a Permit
Article 32b Pollution Control

Part Four Provisions for the Groundwater

Article 33 Usages not Requiring a Permit
Article 34 Pollution Control
Article 35 Openings in the Ground

Part Five Water Management Planning; Water Register

Article 36 Water Management Framework Plans
Article 36a Ban on Alterations to Ensure Planning
Article 36b Management Plans
Article 37 Water Register


Introductory Provision

Article 1 Material Area of Application

(1) This Act shall apply to the following bodies of water:

1. water permanently or temporarily flowing or standing in beds or flowing quickly from springs (surface waters)

1a. the sea between the shore line at mean high tide for the seaward limitation of surface waters and the seaward limitation of the sea at the coast (coastal waters),

2. the groundwater.

(2) The Länder can exclude from the provisions of this Act small bodies of water which are of lesser importance to water management, as well as springs that have been declared medicinal springs. This shall not apply to Article 22.

(3) The Länder shall determine the seaward limitation of those surface waters that are not inland waterways belonging to the Federation.

Part One Common Provisions for the Waters

Article 1a Principles

(1) As a part of the ecobalance and as a habitat for animals and plants the waters are to be secured. They shall be managed in such a way that they serve the general well-being and, in harmony with this, also serve the purposes of an individual and that any avoidable damage to their ecological functions does not occur.

(2) Everyone is required, when taking measures which could lead to an effect on a body of water, to use the care appropriate to the circumstances to avoid polluting the water or any other negative change in its properties to bring about economical use of the water in the interests of the water resources in order to maintain the efficiency of the water reserves and to avoid an increase and acceleration of water run-off.

(3) The ownership of land does not entitle anyone to

1. use a body of water which requires a permit or approval either under this Act or under Land water legislation,

2. to develop a surface water.

Article 2 Requirement for Permits and Approvals

(1) The use of a body of water requires a permit (Article 7) or approval (Article 8) from the authorities, provided that the provisions of this Act or the Land legal provisions passed within the framework of this Act do not state otherwise.

(2) The permit or the approval do not entitle anyone to inflows of water of a specific quantity and quality. Regardless of Article 11, they do not affect entitlements to inflows of water of a specific quantity and quality under private law.

Article 3 Usages

(1) Usages within the meaning of this Act are

1. Withdrawing and diverting water from surface waters,

2. Banking up and lowering surface waters,

3. Removing solid substances from surface waters provided that this has an effect on the state of the water body or on water drainage,

4. Introducing and discharging substances into surface waters,

4a. Introducing and discharging substances into coastal water

5. Introducing substances into the groundwater,

6. Withdrawing, pumping to the surface, guiding to the surface or discharging groundwater.

(2) The following interventions shall apply as usages:

1. Banking up, lowering and diverting groundwater through installations that are designed for this or suitable for this purpose,

2. Measures that tend to cause harmful changes to the physical, chemical or biological properties of the water, either permanently or to an extent that is not merely inconsiderable.

(3) Measures to develop a surface water are not a usage. This shall also apply to maintenance measures of a surface water provided that no chemical agents are used in this process.

Article 4 Terms and Conditions of Usage

(1) The permit and the approval can be granted subject to the setting of terms and conditions for usage. Conditions shall also be permissible in order to prevent negative effects for third parties or to compensate for these.

(2) Furthermore conditions can also be used for the following in particular

1. to arrange for measures to monitor or to determine the condition prior to the usage and damage and negative effects resulting from usage,

2. to prescribe the commissioning of responsible plant delegates provided that the commissioning of a pollution control delegate is not prescribed under Article 21a or cannot be arranged,

2a. to arrange measures that are required to compensate for damage to the physical, chemical or biological properties of the water as a result of the usage,

3. to impose on the entrepreneur appropriate contributions to the costs for measures that a body under public law introduces or intends to introduce in order to prevent or compensate for damage to the general well-being associated with the usage.

Article 5 Proviso

(1) The permit and the approval shall be subject to the proviso that subsequently

1. additional requirements can be made as regards the properties of substances to be introduced or discharged,

1a. measures can be arranged for the species named in Article 4, para. 2 subpara. 2, 2a and 3 as well as in Article 21a, para. 2,

2. measures can be arranged to monitor the water usage and its consequences,

3. measures can be arranged for an economical usage of the water determined by the need to bear in mind water resources.

An additional requirement pursuant to indent 1 may not be made if the effort associated with meeting the requirements is disproportionate to the success aimed at with the requirement; in this connection, the nature, quantity and hazardousness of the substances to be introduced or discharged and the duration of use and the special technical features of the installation shall be taken into account. The requirements pursuant to Article 7a must be met. If the water is used on the basis of an approval the measures according to numbers 2 and 3 must be economically justified and be compatible with the usage.

(2) Para. 1 shall apply mutatis mutandis to old laws and authorisations (Article 15), provided that Article 15 does not permit further restrictions.

Article 6 Denial

(1) The permit and the approval shall be denied provided that a restriction to the general well-being, particularly a threat to public water supply, is to be expected from the intended usage, that is not prevented or compensated for by conditions or measures imposed by a body under public law (Article 4, para. 2 subpara. 3).

(2) The permit and the approval shall also be denied provided that a considerable restriction to an area of Community importance, a European Bird Protection Area or a concentration area within the meaning of Article 19a para. 2 indent 3 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act of the elements essential for its protection purpose is to be expected and the restriction cannot be balanced out pursuant to Article 8 para.2 sentence 4 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act. This shall not apply if the precondition of Article 19c para. 3 in conjunction with para. 4 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act prevail. Article 19c paras 1 and 5 and Article 19f para. 2 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 6a Supranational and International Requirements

Article 7 Permit

(1) The permit shall grant the revocable authorisation to use a body of water for a specific purpose in a way and to an extent that is specifically defined; it can be of limited duration. In the case of a project that is subject to an environmental impact assessment according to Article 3 of the Act on the Assessment of Environmental Impacts, the permit can only be granted within a process that corresponds to the requirements of the said Act.

(2) The permit shall be transferred to the legal successor in the case of a water usage installation or if it is granted for a piece of land, it shall be transferred with this to its legal successor, provided nothing to the contrary is determined when it is granted.

Article 7a Requirements for the Discharging of Waste Water

(1) A permit to discharge waste water may only be granted if the pollutant load of the waste water is kept as low as possible while maintaining the procedures according to the state-of-the-art. Article 6 shall remain unaffected by this. With the approval of the Bundesrat, the Federal Government shall use statutory ordinances to specify requirements in line with the state-of-the art. These requirements can also be specified for the place of origin of the waste water or before it is mixed in the water.

(2) For existing discharges of waste water the statutory ordinance pursuant to para. 1 sentence 3 above shall specify divergent requirements if and insofar as the adaptation measured required would be disproportionate.

(3) If existing discharges of waste water do not correspond to the requirements under para. 1 sentence 3 above, the Länder must ensure that the required measures are carried out within an appropriate time frame.

(4) The Länder shall also ensure that, prior to the discharge of waste water with hazardous substances into a public waste water installation, the required measures under para. 1 sentence 4 are adhered to. Para. 3 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(5) The state-of-the-art within the meaning of para. 1 is the state of development of procedures, facilities or modes of operation that can be implemented technically and economically that are practically suitable as the best available techniques to limit emissions.

Article 8 Approval

(1) The approval grants the right to use a body of water in a way and to an extent that is specifically defined. It does not grant the right to make use of objects that belong to someone else or to make use of land or installations that belong to someone else.

(2) The approval may only be granted if

1. the entrepreneur cannot be expected to implement his plan without a secured legal position, and

2. the use serves a specific purpose which is following a specific plan.

It may not be issued for the introduction or discharge of substances into a body of water or for usages within the meaning of Article 3, para. 2 subpara. 2. Sentence 2 shall not apply to the reintroduction of water from power plants that has not been negatively altered.

(3) If it is to be expected that the usage will have a negative effect on the rights of another party and if the affected party raises objections, the approval may only be issued if the negative effect is prevented or compensated for by means of conditions. If this is not possible the approval may be issued anyway for reasons of the general well-being; the affected party shall be compensated.

(4) The Länder can define further cases in which negative effects entitle another party to raise objections. In these cases para. 3 shall apply mutatis mutandis; however, the Länder can determine that the approval may also be granted if the expected benefits of the intended usage are considerably greater than the expected disadvantage for the affected party.

(5) The approval shall be granted for a specific suitable period which may exceed thirty years in exceptional cases.

(6) The approval shall be transferred to the legal successor in the case of a water usage installation or, if it is granted for a piece of land, it shall be transferred with this to its legal successor, provided nothing to the contrary is determined when it is granted.

Article 9 Approval Procedure

The approval can only be granted as part of a procedure that ensures that the affected parties and the authorities concerned can raise objections. In the case of procedures subject to an environmental impact assessment under Article 3 of the Act on the Assessment of Environmental Impacts, the procedure must correspond to the requirements of the said Act.

Article 9a Authorisation of Premature Start

Article 10 Subsequent Decisions

Article 11 Exclusion of Claims

Article 12 Revoking the Approval

Article 13 Use by Associations

Article 14 Plan Approval and Operating Plans under Mining Law

Article 15 Old Rights and Old Powers

Article 16 Registration of Old Rights and Old Powers

Article 17 Other Old Usages

Article 17a Usages not Requiring a Permit for Exercises and Trials

Article 18 Balancing Rights and Powers

Article 18a Obligations and Plans for Waste Water Disposal

(1) Waste water shall be disposed of in such a way that the general well-being is not affected. The general well-being can also correspond to the disposal of domestic waste water by decentralised installations. Waste water disposal within the meaning of this Act comprises the collection, further distribution, treatment, discharging, leaching, spraying and irrigation of waste water, as well as the drainage of sewage sludge in conjunction with waste water disposal.

(2) The Länder shall regulate which bodies under public law are obliged to dispose of waste water and the conditions under which others are obliged to dispose of waste water. If a plan declared binding under para. 3 identifies other responsible parties, these are obliged to dispose of the waste water. Those obliged to dispose of waste water may employ third parties to fulfil their obligations.

(2a) The Länder may rule upon the conditions under which bodies under public law may fully or partially transfer their waste water disposal obligations to a third party for a limited period and revocably. These conditions include, in particular, the fact that

1. the third party must be expert and reliable,

2. the fulfilment of the transferred duties shall be ensures,

3. the transfer may not stand in the way of predominant public interests.

(3) The Länder shall draw up plans for the disposal of waste water in accordance with supra-regional aspects (waste water disposal plans). In particular these plans must specify the locations for important installations for the treatment of waste water, their catchment area, basic features of the waste water treatment as well as who is responsible for the measure. The specifications in the plans can be declared binding.

Article 18b Building and Operating Waste Water Installations

(1) Waste water installations shall be built and operated in such a way that the requirements for the discharge of waste water, in particular pursuant to Article 7a, are adhered to. Otherwise the generally recognised rules of technology shall apply to the construction and operation of waste water treatment plants.

(2) Should the existing installations not correspond to the provisions of para. 1, Article 7a para. 3 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 18c Authorisation of Waste Water Treatment Installations

The building and operation of, as well as major alteration to, a waste water treatment installation designed for organically polluted waster water of more than 3,000 kg/d five-day BOD5 (rough) or for inorganically polluted waste waters of more than 1,500 cubic meters of waste water in two hours (except for cooling water) require official authorisation. The authorisation can only be granted as part of a procedure that corresponds to the requirements of the Act on the Assessment of Environmental Impacts. A major alteration within the meaning of sentence 1 above is only the case if a negative impact on

1. people, animals and plants, the soil, water, air, climate and landscape including their interactions,

2. cultural or other material assets

may occur as a result of changes to the construction of the installation or the associated alteration of the operations.

Article 19 Protected Water Areas

(1) Insofar as the general well-being demands that

1. bodies of water be protected against negative effects in the interests of current or future public water supply or

2. the groundwater be replenished or

3. that the harmful draining away of precipitation water, as well as the stream erosion and input of soil particles, fertilisers or pesticides in waters be prevented,

protected water areas can be defined.

(2) In the protected water areas

1. specific actions can be prohibited or declared as only permitted to a certain extent and

2. the proprietors and people entitled to use pieces of land can be obliged to tolerate certain measures. This includes measures for observing the water and the soil.

(3) If an order under para. 2 represents expropriation, compensation shall be paid for this; Article 12 shall apply to the restriction of an approval, Article 15 para. 4 shall apply to the restriction of an old right.

(4) If an order under para. 2 specifies higher requirements that restrict the proper agricultural or forestry use of a piece of land, the economic disadvantages thus caused shall be compensated for according to Land law, provided that there is no duty to pay compensation under para. 3. This shall also apply to orders taken before 1 January 1987. In the case of disputes legal action can be taken before the courts of general jurisdiction.

Article 19a Licensing Pipeline Installations to Pump Substances Hazardous to Water

(1) The building and operation of pipeline installations to pump substances hazardous to water requires a licence from the authority responsible for the water. This shall not apply to pipeline installations that do not go beyond the area of a works premises or that are the accessories of an installation for storing such substances.

(2) Substances hazardous to water within the meaning of para. 1 are

1. crude oils, benzenes, diesel fuels and heating oils;

2. other liquid or gaseous substances that are liable to pollute bodies of water or change their properties negatively in any other way; they shall be defined by the Federal Government by means of a statutory ordinance with the approval of the Bundesrat.

(3) Furthermore, a major alteration to a pipeline installation that comes under para. 1 or a major alteration to the operation of such an installation also requires a licence.

(4) The licence shall be transferred to the legal successor of the installation. The previous licensee must inform the responsible authority under para. 1 of this transfer.

Article 19b Conditions and Provisions, Refusal of the Licence

Article 19c Revocation of the Licence

Article 19d Statutory Ordinances

Article 19e Existing Installations

Article 19f Coincidence of the Licence with Decisions under Commercial and Mining Law

Article 19g Installations for Handling Substances Hazardous to Water

(1) Installations for storing, filling, manufacturing and treating substances hazardous to water, as well as installations for using substances hazardous to water in the area of commerce or public institutions must be designed, installed, erected, maintained and operated in such a way that the pollution of the water or any other negative change to its properties is not a matter for concern. The same shall apply to pipeline installations which do not go beyond the area of a works premises.

(2) Installations for the handling of substances hazardous to water and installations for storing and filling liquid manure, slurry and silage seepage must be designed, installed, erected, maintained and operated in such a way that the best possible protection of the water against pollution or any other negative change to its properties is achieved.

(3) Installations within the meaning of paras 1 and 2 must at least correspond to the generally recognised rules of technology in their design as well as in the way they are installed, erected, maintained and operated.

(4) Provisions under Land law for the storage of substances hazardous to water in protected water areas, protected head water areas, flood plains or planning areas shall remain unaffected by this.

(5) Substances hazardous to water within the meaning of Articles 19g to 19l are solid, liquid and gaseous substances, particularly

acids, bases,

alkaline metals, silicon alloys with over 30% silicon, organic metallic compounds, halogens, acid halogenides, metallic carbonyles and corrosive salts,

mineral and tar oils as well as their derivatives,

liquid and water soluble hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, esters, organic compounds containing halogen, nitrogen and sulphur,

toxins,

that are liable to permanently alter the physical, chemical or biological properties of the water. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety shall issue, with the approval of the Bundesrat, general administrative rules in which the substances hazardous to water are defined in more detail and are classified according to their degree of hazardousness.

(6) The provisions of Articles 19g to 19l shall not apply to installations within the meaning of paras 1 and 2 for handling

1. waste water,

2. substances that exceed the free limits of radiation law as regards radioactivity.

Para. 1 and Articles 19h to 19l shall not apply to installations for storing and filling liquid manure, slurry and silage seepage.

Article 19h Determining Suitability and Authorising Construction Type

Article 19i Duties of the Operator

Article 19k Special Duties in Filling and Emptying

Article 19l Specialist Operations

Article 20 Compensation

(1) Compensation to be paid under this Act must make good the damage to assets in a suitable way. Provided that use is removed at the time of the official administrative rule that triggers the obligation to pay compensation, the degree of the restriction shall be assumed; if the person entitled to compensation has taken measures to increase usage and if it is proved that the measures would have permanently increased usage, this shall be taken into account. Furthermore a reduction in the general value of land resulting from the official administrative rule shall be taken into account insofar as it is not already taken into account by sentence 2.

(2) Insofar as water management or other measures are not legally permitted as compensation, the compensation shall be defined in pecuniary terms.

Article 21 Monitoring

Article 21a Commissioning Planned Delegates for Water Pollution Control

Article 21b Tasks

Article 21c Duties of the User

Article 21d Statement on Decisions made by the User

Article 21e Right to Recitation

Article 21f Prohibition on Discrimination, Protection against Termination

Article 21g Special Ruling

Article 22 Liability for Changing the Property of the Water

(1) Anyone who introduces or discharges substances into a body of water or anyone who affects a body of water in such a way that the physical, chemical or biological properties of the water are changed shall be obliged to compensate for the damage thereby caused to another. If several people are responsible for the effects they shall all be jointly and severally liable.

(2) If substances are released from an installation designed to manufacture, process, store, deposit, convey or dispose of these substances without them being introduced or discharged into the body of water, the proprietor of the installation shall be obliged to compensate for the damages thus caused to another; para. 1 sentence 2 shall apply mutatis mutandis. The obligation to compensate shall not apply if the damage is a result of force majeur.

(3) If a claim for compensation for the damage pursuant to Article 11 cannot be made, the person affected shall be compensated according to Article 10 para. 2. The application shall also be permissible after the expiry of a period of thirty years.

Part Two Provisions for Surface Water

Section One Usages not Requiring a Permit

Article 23 General Usage

Everybody may use surface waters to the extent that it is permitted as general usage under Land law, provided that the rights of others do not contradict this and provided that powers or the usage by proprietors or riparian residents are not restricted by others.

Article 24 Usage by Proprietors and Riparian Residents

(1) A permit or an approval is not required for the use of surface water by the proprietor or by a person entitled by him for his own usage if others are not restricted by this, if there is no negative change to the properties of the water, if there is no major reduction in the water regime and no other restriction to the water resources is to be expected. The Länder can exclude the proprietors’ usage if this was not permitted beforehand.

(2) The Länder can determine that the proprietors of land bordering on to surface waters and the people entitled to use this land (riparian residents), as well as the proprietors of land bordering on to riparian residents’ land and those people entitled to use this land (local residents) may use water above ground without a permit or approval according to para. 1.

(3) Usage according to para. 2 of Federal waterways and other bodies of water used for navigation or that were created artificially shall not take place by riparian and local residents.

Article 25 Usage for the Purposes of Fishing

The Länder can determine that a permit or an approval is not required for the introduction of substances into surface waters for the purposes of fishing.

Section Two Pollution Control

Article 26 Introduction, Storage and Transport of Substances

(1) Solid substances may not be introduced into a body of water for the purposes of disposing of them. Sludge substances do not count as solid substances.

(2) Substances may only be stored or deposited in a body of water in such a way that there is no risk that the water will be polluted or that any other negative change to its properties or to the water flow will occur. The same shall apply to the transport of lquids and gases through pipelines. Further prohibitive provisions shall remain unaffected by this.

Article 27 Pollution Control Legislation

(1) The competent supreme Land authorities or authorities appointed under Land law can issue pollution control legislation by means of statutory ordinances for water or parts of bodies of water above ground for reasons of the general well-being. The pollution control legislation can prescribe the following in particular,

1. that specific substances may not be discharged,

2. that specific substances that are discharged must satisfy specific minimum requirements,

3. what other effects are to be averted by means of which the property of the water can be negatively influenced.

Section Three Upkeep and Development

Article 28 Extent of Upkeep

(1) The upkeep of a body of water comprises the maintenance of a proper condition for the water drainage and, in the case of navigable waters, also the maintenance of navigability. The needs of the ecobalance must be taken into account in this upkeep; the appearance and the recreational value of the water landscape shall also be taken into account. The Länder may also decree that upkeep also involves maintaining the water body and its banks in a proper condition as regards other concerns of water management. This shall also apply to measures to improve and maintain the self-purification capacity, provided others are not obliged to do so; Article 4, para. 2 subpara. 3 shall remain unaffected by this.

(2) The provisions on the extent of upkeep shall apply to the maintenance of developed bodies of water insofar as nothing to the contrary is determined in a process according to Article 31 or Federal or Land law determines otherwise.

Article 29 The Burden of Upkeep

Article 30 Special Obligations in the Interest of Upkeep

Article 31 Development

(1) Bodies of water that are in a natural or semi-natural state should be maintained in this state and natural bodies of water that have been developed in a way that is not semi-natural should be returned to a semi-natural state as far as possible, provided that priority reasons of the general well-being do not prevent this. For example, such reasons may be use for hydroelectricity.

(2) The creation, removal or fundamental redesign of a body of water or its banks (development) shall require a prior plan approval process, which is in line with the requirements of the Act on the Assessment of Environmental Impacts. The construction of dykes and dams, which influence the drainage of flood waters, shall be equivalent to development. Sentence 1 shall not apply if a body of water occurs only for a limited period of time and it does not have a major negative impact on the water balance.

(5) During development natural retention areas should be maintained, natural run-off conduct not changed greatly, biotic communities typical of the natural area conserved and other major negative changes to the natural or semi-natural state of the body of water avoided or, if this is not possible, balanced out. In the procedure the type and extent of the development measures and the facilities that are needed in the public interest or to avoid negative impacts on the rights of others shall be identified and compensation of damage shall be arranged. A planning decision or approval shall be denied if the development is expected to lead to a restriction of the general well-being, especially a considerable and long-term increase in the flood risk, which cannot be compensated, or a destruction of natural retention areas, especially in alluvial forests.

(6) If an intended development is to be made on a body of water that is subject to the administration of several Länder and if no agreement can be reached on the development plan, the Federal Government shall negotiate between the Länder upon the request of one of the Länder concerned.

Section Four Flood Basins

Article 32 Flood Basins

(1) Flood basins are areas between surface waters and dykes or high banks as well as other areas that are flooded or that flood water flows through or that are used for flood water relief or retention. The Länder shall designate the flood basins and adopt the provisions required to protect against flood risks provided that they are needed to

1. conserve or improve the ecological structures of the water bodies and their flood areas,

2. prevent interventions that encourage erosion,

3. conserve or reclaim natural retention areas,

4. regulate the flood runoff.

If arrangements that specify higher requirements for orderly agricultural or forestry use of a plot of land are made when reclaiming natural retention areas, Article 19 para, 4 sentences 1 and 3 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(2) Flood basins shall be retained with their function as natural retention areas; if serious reasons of the general well-being prevent this, the necessary compensatory measures shall be taken in time. Former flood basins that are suitable for use as retention areas should be recreated as far as possible provided that priority reasons of the general well-being do not prevent this.

(3) The Länder shall coordinate their measures for precautionary flood protection if they can have a considerable impact on the territory of other Länder. If no agreement can be reached on the measures, the Federal Government shall negotiate between the Länder upon the application of one Land.

Part Three Provisions for Coastal Waters

Article 32a Usages not Requiring a Permit

Article 32b Pollution Control

Part Four Provisions for the Groundwater

Article 33 Usages not Requiring a Permit

(1) A permit or an approval shall not be required for the removal, bringing to the surface, guiding to the surface or diverting of groundwater

1. for domestic purposes, for agricultural purposes in the farmyard, for animals’ drinking water outside the farmyard or in small amounts for a temporary purpose,

2. for the purposes of usual soil drainage of land used for agricultural, forestry or gardening purposes.

(2) The Länder may determine generally or for individual areas that

1. a permit or an approval is required for the cases listed in para. 1,

2. a permit or an approval is not required for the removal, bringing to the surface, guiding to the surface or diverting of groundwater in small amounts for commercial operations as well as for agriculture, forestry or gardening above and beyond the purposes laid down in para. 1,

3. a permit is not required for the discharge of precipitation waters into the groundwater for the purpose of its harmless percolation.

Article 34 Pollution Control

(1) A permit for the discharge of substances into the groundwater may only be granted if there is no need for concern about harmful pollution of the groundwater or any other negative change to its properties.

(2) Substances may be stored or deposited at a coastal water only in such a way that pollution of the water or any other negative change to its properties is not of concern. The same shall apply to the conveyance of liquids and gases through pipelines.

Article 35 Openings in the Ground

(1) Insofar as the management of water resources require this, the Länder must determine that works which penetrate the soil above and beyond a certain depth shall be monitored.

(2) If groundwater is tapped without authority or unintentionally, orders can be given for the tapping to be reversed if concerns about water resources so require.

Part Five Water Management Planning; Water Register

Article 36 Water Management Framework Plans

(1) In order to ensure the water management requirements essential for the development of living and economic conditions, water management framework plans shall be drawn up for river areas or economic areas or for parts of the same. They shall be continuously brought into line with developments.

(2) A water management framework plan must take into account the usable water resources, the requirements of flood protection and pollution control of the body of water. The water management framework plans and the requirements of urban planning shall be harmonised.

(3) Water management framework plans shall be drawn up by the Länder according to guidelines issued by the Federal Government with the approval of the Bundesrat.

Article 36a Ban on Alterations to Ensure Planning

Article 36b Management Plans

(1) Insofar as required by the management of water resources the Länder shall draw up plans on the management of the bodies of water (Article 1a), which bear in mind the protection of the body of water as a component of the ecobalance, the protection of groundwater supplies, the runoff behaviour and the usage requirements (management plans). The objectives of town and country planning shall be taken into account.

(2) Management plans shall be drawn up for whole or partial surface waters,

1. which are used in such a way that public water supply that is to be maintained or future public water supply from these bodies of waters or parts of bodies of water could be impaired,

2. where it is required to satisfy binding resolutions of the European Communities or international agreements.

(3) In the management plans for whole or partial surface waters the following shall be contained bearing in mind the natural conditions

1. the usages that the body of water shall serve,

2. the characteristics that the body of water should show in its course,

3. the measures that will be required to achieve these specified characteristics or to maintain them as well as the deadlines which must be adhered to,

4. other water management measures.

(4) The management plans shall be continuously brought into line with developments.

(5) The management plans shall be enforced by means of the decisions taken on the basis of this Act and Land water legislation, especially by means of additional requirements (Article 5), the revocation of permits (Article 7, para. 1), the revocation of approvals (Article 12), the revocation of old rights and old powers (Article 15), the balancing procedure (Article 18), the issuing of pollution control legislation (Article 27) or other measures laid down in the management plan. Under Land law the management plans can also be declared binding for other authorities.

Article 37 Water Register

(1) Water registers must be kept for the bodies of water.

(2) In particular the following shall

1. permits (Article 7) that do not merely serve temporary purposes, approvals (Article 8), old rights and old powers (Article 16),

2. water protection areas (Article 19),

3. flood basins (Article 32).

be entered in the water register

The above translation was published by Inter Nationes. Reproduced with kind permission. This HTML edition by Lawrence Schäfer and © 2001 Gerhard Dannemann. The contents of this page may be downloaded and printed out in single copies for individual use only. Making multiple copies without permission is prohibited.