FAOLEX Database

Framework Law

The main law applicable to water resources management, which covers all of the following areas: administration; management, conservation and use of freshwater resources; water rights; waterworks; water supply
No legislation available

Constitutional provisions

Date of text: 11 October 1972

Right to water: The State shall combat contagious diseases through, among other things, environmental health and development of potable water availability. Article 118 defines the fundamental obligation of the State to guarantee that its population lives in a healthy environment, free of contamination (pollution), and where air, water, and foodstuffs satisfy the requirements for proper development of human life.

Natural resources: The State shall regulate, supervise, and apply, at the proper time, the measures necessary to guarantee rational use of, and benefit from, land, river and sea life, as well as forests, lands and waters, to avoid their misuse, and to ensure their preservation, renewal, and permanence (art. 120). To fulfil the objectives of the Agrarian Policy, the State shall grant necessary farm lands to rural dwellers and regulate the use of the water (art. 126). Certain lands and waters belong to the State and are of public use and therefore may not be the object of private appropriation (art. 258). Hunting, fishing and exploitation of forests shall be regulated by law, with special care in protecting and conserving the fauna and flora of the country (art. 296). Article 316 assigns certain water resources management functions to the Panama Canal Authority.


Water used for irrigation, forestry and aquaculture

Water Supply and Sanitation

Provision of water services by public utilities or commercial organizations; water supply for domestic, industrial or other purposes; right to safe and clean drinking water and basic sanitation; quality of piped water; sewerage


The political, social, economic and administrative systems that govern water management and conservation; good practices; good governance; decentralization; water user’s associations


Waterworks; water supply systems; dams; hydropower systems; irrigation systems

Water Resources Management and Water Rights

Ownership and control of water resources; abstraction and diversion of water; allocation and quotas; riparian rights; priority of rights; free water use

Water and Environment

Water Quality and Pollution Control

Control of pollution and quality of freshwater bodies and groundwater; agricultural point and non-point sources of pollution; water quality standards


Freshwater resources located below the surface of the earth; aquifers; groundwater abstraction; well-sinking; boreholes; hydrogeology

Disaster Resilience

Water-related hazards; flood; drought; water shortage; adaptation to climate change; early warning system/emergency intervention system

Transboundary Waters

Transboundary effects; international basin institutions; international agreements; transboundary coordination; transboundary aquifers