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Law That Introduces Modifications To The Regulatory Framework That Rules Water On Inspection And Sanctions Matters

Author:Mr Alberto Cardemil and Sebastián Del Campo

On January 27, 2018, five years after being presented before the National Congress, Law 21,064 that "Introduces modifications to the regulatory framework that rules water on inspection and sanctions matters", was enacted and published in the Official Gazette (Bulletin 8149-09) (the Law).

The main modifications introduced by the Law to the current regulatory framework are the following:

The General Water Bureau (Dirección General de Aguas, DGA), at its own initiative or at the request of one or more individuals, is allowed to establish a temporary reduction of the exercise of underground water rights, not only when the exploitation of the underground waters causes damages to other water rights owners, but also when the aquifer's sustainability could be affected. The Law requires the owners of water rights granted in prohibition zones and restricted areas, to install and maintain systems to measure flow and other information. It also gives the DGA the power to, through a founded resolution, determine the deadlines and technical conditions to fulfill this obligation. Regarding sanctions, the Law establishes five different degrees of fines (1st degree: USD780 up to USD3,900; 2nd degree: USD3,980 up to USD7,800; 3rd degree: USD7,880 up to USD39,000; 4th degree: USD39,100 up to USD78,000; and 5th degree: USD78,100 up to USD156,000), and specifies the conducts that generate the implementation of those fines. Regarding the definition of misappropriation of water, the Law establishes that both surface and underground waters are included in the definition of this crime. Also, the penalties were increased to 61 days up to 3 years of imprisonment, and a fine ranging from US$1,560 up to US$390,000 approximately, and, in cases where the crime is executed using violence or intimidation, the penalty is 61 days up to 5 years of imprisonment, and a fine ranging from US$3,900 up to US$390,000 approximately. It also, incorporates a new crime, establishing that anyone that deliberately duplicates a water right ownership registration at the Water Property Registry at the Custodian of Real Estate, will be sanctioned with the penalty of 61 days up to 540 days of imprisonment, a fine ranging from US$860 up to US$1,560 approximately, the withdrawing of the duplicate title and the cancelation of the duplicated water right registration. Even though the...

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