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Water management, policies and legislation related to water use in agriculture
During the Soviet period, all water investments were the responsibility of the Ministry of Water Administration (Minvodkhoz). At present, several institutions are involved in water resources management:
- The Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Ministry of the Republic of Belarus (MNREP) is, since 1994, in charge of exploitation of natural resources and environmental protection, pursuing the state ecology policy.
- The Republican Center of Analytical Control in the Sphere of Environmental Protection, subordinated of the MNREP, is responsible for analytical control of water.
- The Republican Unitary Enterprise "Central Research Institute for Complex Use of Water Resources" (CRICUWR) is a specialized scientific institution of the MNREP for research in the fields of water resources management and engineering.
- The State Hydrometeorological Service is a system of organizationally and functionally united entities involved in hydrometeorological activities.
- The Ministry of Agriculture and Food is responsible for all issues relating to drainage and irrigation.
The government is making it a priority to bring safe drinking water to people, and to build good wastewater treatment and sanitation facilities (World Bank, 2013).
The Ministry of Natural Resources has adopted a Water Strategy of the Republic of Belarus by 2020 outlining the main issues and setting the goals in the area of water management and protection which have to be addressed taking into consideration the next stage of the socioeconomic development of Belarus. This strategy aims to achieve the goals of the International Decade for Action Water for Life 2005-2015 and UN Millennium Declaration, Protocol on Water and Health to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (MNREP, 2015b).
There are two types of water supply systems in Belarus: centralized and non-centralized. At the end of 2008, centralized water supply systems reached 100 percent of urban and 23 percent of rural settlements, and provided water to 85 percent of the population (96 percent of urban population and 56 percent of rural population). The management and development of the centralized system is within the competence of local authorities while the requirements to the quality of water are established by the Ministry of Public Health at the state level and supervised by public health services. The quality of sewage treatment and its conformity to the standards is supervised by the Ministry of environmental protection and its territorial bodies (Alena, 2011).
Policies and legislation
The main legislation related to water resources is (Alena, 2011):
- The Water Code (1998), amended in 2010
- The Law about environmental protection (1992), amended in 2010
- The Law about sanitary-and-epidemic well-being of the population (1993), amended in 2009
- The Law about drinking water supply (1999), amended in 2009