The Water Code of Ukraine

Date of Entry into Force:
July 20, 1995

All waters (water objects) on the territory of Ukraine are the national wealth of the Ukrainian people, one of natural grounds for their economic development and social welfare.

Water objects referred according to the set by legislation procedure to the territories and objects of natural reserve fund are protected and useв according to the requirements set by the Law of Ukraine “On Natural Reserve Fund of Ukraine”.

The task of water legislation is regulation of legal relations with the purpose of ensuring preservation, scientifically grounded, efficient use of waters for the needs of population and branches of economy.

The water fund of Ukraine is formed by all waters on its territory. The water fund of Ukraine includes:
1) surface waters (natural ponds (lakes), water flows (rivers, wells), artificial water reservoirs (storage ponds, lakes) and channels, other water objects);
2) underground waters and wells;
3) internal sea waters and territorial sea.

To the lands of water fund refer the lands occupied by:
- seas, rivers, lakes, storage ponds, other natural ponds, swamps, as well as islands;
- coastal protective zones along seas, rivers and around natural ponds;
- hydro technical, other water constructions and channels, as well as lands allotted as adjacent zones thereto;
- coastal zones of water routes.

Waters (water objects) are exclusive property of the Ukrainian people and are granted only in use. The Ukrainian people exercise the ownership right to waters (water objects) through the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and local councils.

The Water Code of Ukraine defines the authorities of bodies of state power and local self-government in the field of management and control over use and protection of waters and reproduction of water resources.

The state control over use and protection of waters and reproduction of water resources is performed by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, state bodies on environmental protection and other specially authorized state bodies in compliance with the legislation of Ukraine.

Organizational and economic measures regarding ensuring efficient use and protection of waters and reproduction of water resources envisage:
1) issue of permits to special use of water;
2) setting norms and amounts of fees for the special use of water and throw out of contaminants;
3) deleted;
4) granting tax, credit and other privileges to the users provided that they introduce low-waste, and no-waste, energy and resource saving technologies, conducting other measures that decrease negative influence on waters in compliance with the legislation;
5) compensation according to the set procedure of losses caused to water objects in case of violation of the legislation.

Fee for special water use is imposed with the purpose of stimulating efficient use and protection of waters, reproduction of water resources and includes fee for use of water of water objects and for throw out of contaminants. The amount of fee for use of water is defined on the basis of norms of fee, actual volumes of used water and set limits of use of water. Fee for water lost during transportation is imposed on the owners of water supplying networks.

80 % of fee for use of water from water objects of state significance are allocated to the State Budget of Ukraine and the rest – to the oblast budgets.

50 % of fee for use of water from water objects of state significance on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea are allocated to the State Budget of Ukraine and 50 % – to the budget of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

Fee for use of surface waters for the needs of hydro-energetic, fishery and water transport, as well as for losses of water during its transportation is allocated to the State Budget of Ukraine in the amount of 100%.

Water protective zones are set along rivers, seas and around lakes, water reservoirs and other ponds for creation of favorable treatment of water objects, prevention of their pollution, litter and exhaustion, elimination of water plants and animals, as well as reduction of variation of flow. In some cases mining of sand and gravel outside the lands of water fund on a dry part of flood-lands, in old river-beds may be permitted in the water protective zone upon agreement with the state bodies on environmental protection, protection of water economy and geology.

Land plots under coastal protective zones are allotted for protection of surface water objects from contamination and liter and preservation of their water level along rivers, seas and around lakes, storage reservoirs and other ponds within the boundaries of water protective zones. Coastal protective zones are set on both river coasts and around ponds along the water abridgment (coastal line).

Users of water in Ukraine may be legal entitles and natural persons. Users of water may be:
1) primary and secondary. Primary are those that have own water taking constructions and appropriate equipment for water taking. Secondary water users are those who do not have own water taking constructions, obtain water from the water taking constructions of primary water users and throw out sewage into their systems under the conditions established between them. Secondary water users may throw out sewage into the water objects also on the basis of permits to special use of water;
2) general and special. General use of water is performed by the citizens for satisfaction of their needs free of charge, without assigning water objects to separate entities and without granting respective permits. Special water use means taking water from water objects by means of constructions or technical devices, use of water and throw out of contaminants into water objects, including taking water and throw out of contaminants with reverse waters using channels. Special water use may be short-term (up to three years) or long-term (from three to twenty five years).

The right of legal entities and natural persons to special use of water shall be terminated in case if:
1) there is no need in special water use;
2) the term of special water use is expired;
3) enterprises, institutions or organizations are liquidated;
4) water constructions are transferred to other water users;
5) water object is recognized as such that has special state significance, scientific, cultural or medicinal value;
6) violation of conditions of special use of water and water protection;
7) arising of the necessity of top-priority satisfaction of drinking and economic everyday needs of population;
8) systematic non-payment of fee in the terms defined by the legislation.

The Code contains provisions that regulate peculiarities of special water use and use of water objects for:
  • the purposes of curing, resort and health improvement;
  • needs of branches of economy.

Disputes regarding use and protection of waters and reproduction of water resources are considered by the state bodies on protection of environment, water economy, geology, local councils, court or court of arbitration according to the procedure set by the legislation. Disputes, that arise with other states, as regards to use and protection of waters, as well as between foreign legal entities and citizens and the owner of waters shall be considered according to the legislation of Ukraine.

Violation of water legislation results in disciplinary, administrative, civil and legal or criminal responsibility according to the legislation of Ukraine.

Legal entities and natural persons shall compensate losses caused by them as a result of violations of water legislation in amounts and according to the procedure set by the legislation of Ukraine. Compensation of losses does not exempt the guilty from payment of fee for special use of water, as well as from the need of conducting measures regarding liquidation of harmful consequences.
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