Water Strategy Adopted Despite Controversy
After nearly a three-hour debate in the National Assembly the ruling GERB managed to pass the strategy for reforming the water sector. The pompous phrases of the Minister of Environment Nona Karadzhova how rich the country is in water cannot hide the fact that this strategic document is totally delayed. And the chances to produce some real results are not very large.
According to the ruling country, the strategy is to strengthen the role of the state in the management, coordination and control of the most important aquaculture facilities. What is set there is a clear separation of the ownership and control bodies and operators of the dams. It will also create a Water Board enterprise for the management of the environment activities in the country. In other words, this may sound good, but in reality the situation is quite different. Indeed, according to the adopted texts public property are all small dams (except those who are municipal or an operator is involved in the operation and maintenance), all equipment for flood protection outside the settlements, water catchments and reservoirs used for drinking water supply, water supply systems, or parts thereof, through which water is supplied to the street water supply systems, including wells, treatment plants and facilities.
In 18 month's time a national register of water facilities is to be prepared. Every lake and every water facility in Bulgaria will have a determined owner and accordingly operator who maintains them and is responsible for monitoring of their condition, said Minister Karadzhova.
The problem is that the responsibility for infrastructure are distributed between ministries and practice so far has shown that they are very difficult to find a common language with each other. The Construction Ministry will be responsible for the national registry of water infrastructure. It will be in charge of the integrated plan for the development and management of water facilities that are state-owned. The Ministry of Economy will manage and control reservoirs used for drinking and hydropower purposes. And the Ministry of Agriculture will take over all other dams, that are public property.