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Water management, policies and legislation related to water use in agriculture
The main institutions involved in water resources management are:
- The Ministry of Environment (MoE) is the main governmental institution responsible for water management. It is responsible for economic analysis, economic assessment of proposed measures and development of measures related to cost recovery for water services. It coordinates the activities of subordinated institutions to ensure the implementation of river basin management. It is also responsible for coordinating international agreements in the field of management of international river basin districts. The following institutions fall under MoE:
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is responsible for the administration of all the four river basin districts (RBDs). It is responsible for: delineation of water bodies, management of the Register of Protected Areas, assessment of human pressures on lakes and rivers, establishment of a system for the classification and definition of objectives for surface water bodies, monitoring of surface waters, public consultation and reporting to the European Commission.
- The Lithuanian Geological Survey (LGS), which is responsible for the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) tasks related to groundwater. It is responsible for monitoring, classification of the status of groundwater bodies and establishing objectives for groundwater bodies.
- The Lithuanian Hydrometeorological Service (LHS), which is responsible for hydrological monitoring of rivers and lakes, assessment of the quantitative status and human pressure on surface water bodies and development of proposals related to water bodies.
- The State Service for Protected Areas (SSPA), which is responsible for the collection of data and development of measures in protected areas.
- The Regional Environmental Protection Departments (REPDs), which are responsible for the collection and monitoring of surface water data, issuing permits, the control of water abstractions and wastewater discharges, identification of problems and enforcement of RBMPs (EC, 2012).
- The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for irrigation.
- The Association of Land and Water Management Engineers is a non-governmental organization for water management engineers. It is the principal public advisory body to the government on all matters related to land and water management.
The river basin management plans (RBMP) for the Daugava, Lielupe, Nemunas, and Venta RBDs were adopted in 2010, implemented in the period from 2010 through 2015, and will be updated every six years, i.e. in 2015, 2021, etc. The plans present an overview of the RBD status and needs, provide information on water protection objectives, identify water bodies at risk of failing to achieve good status, foresee measures for achieving water protection objectives, etc. (EC, 2015; Länsstyrelsen Blekinge län, 2012).
There are pricing policies for water use in every sector in Lithuania. Costs for water supply and treatment are fully covered by user charges (UN, 2004).
External financial resources have come mainly from bilateral donors such as Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark, and also from the international institutions such as the Poland and Hungary: Assistance for Restructuring their Economies (PHARE) programme, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) and the World Bank (UN, 2004).
Policies and legislation
The general legislation and regulatory framework for water management includes (UN, 2004):
- Lithuanian Environmental Strategy and Action Programme (1996)
- Law on Water (1997, amendments in 2000)
- Law on Taxes on State Natural Resources (1991, amendments in 1996, 2000)
- Law on Pollution Taxes (1991, new wording in 1999, amendments in 2000, 2002)
- Law on Environmental Impact Assessment of the Proposed Economic Activity (1996, new wording in 2000)
- Code on the Internal Water Transport (1996)
- Regulations on the Establishment of the Water Bodies Protection Zone
The Law on Water regulates the ownership of the internal water bodies, the management, use and protection of water resources and the rights and obligations of users of internal bodies of water and their resources. According to the law, the use of water resources shall be regulated considering the needs of the economy and population. It should guarantee a sustainable use of surface and groundwater resources, prevent waters from pollution and protect the rights of owners of bodies of water and users of their water resources.