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Brazil : Implementation of the federal water law 1998 - 2000

Upon the request of the MMA (Ministry of the Environment), several training courses were carried out in Brazil on the integrated water resource management in river basins, with a view to swiftly implementing the new federal law n° 9433 of 8 January 1997.


The "Fundação Estadual do Meio Ambiente" (FEMA) in Mato Grosso, led by Mr. Frederico Guilherme, jointly organised a training course from 14 to 18 September 1998, with the International Office for Water. This event, co-financed by FEMA and the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs, gathered more than 40 participants, among them several representatives from the neighbouring States of Mato Grosso do Sul and Santa Catarina, as well as from Mexico (Comisión Nacional del Agua and IMTA), from Chile (Distrito de Santiago) from Costa Rica (Comisión del Río Tempisque), and from Uruguay (Ministerio de Transporte y Obras Públicas) within INBO.

The presence, in the audience, of Messrs. A. Bernard (IOWater) and J.F. Talec (Loire-Brittany Water Agency), of specialists from the Ministries, FEMA and also from the civil society and Basin Committees, alongside Dr. E. Lanna and Dra. Dalvacir Evaristo (SRH), made it possible to hold a very lively session in which dialogue and exchange of experiences were varied and enriching.

Moreover, the training course was preceded by the inauguration ceremony of the "Conselho Estadual de Recursos Hidricos" by Mr. Dante Martins de Oliveira, Governor of the Mato Grosso State.


IOWater was requested by the Minas Gerais Federation of State Industries to conduct a course addressed to company managers and others in charge in the civil society to prepare them for playing a role in the system of participatory water resource management, defined by the federal law 9433/97 and the corresponding State law.

This course, organised by FIEMG, IBRAM, SENAI, IGAM and ADOCE, with the support of the World Bank, gathered 80 participants on 19 and 20 November 1998. Its objectives were:

• to raise the participants’ awareness about the new law and emphasize its strategic significance for environmental management, replacing the traditional "order-control" system (legislation and policing power) with economic mechanisms and incentives for self-management.
• to prepare company managers so that they may play, among other things, an active role in River Basin Committees and participate in the technical debates which will take place within the Water Agencies being set up.

Upon the request of the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment, Water Resources and Legal Amazonia, IOWater led another training course on integrated water resource management in Salvador de Bahia, the week prior to the General Assembly of the International Network of Basin Organisations (INBO) held in this same town. This course gathered 30 participants from the State of Bahia, but also from many other States such as Rio, São Paulo, Alagoas, Paraiba, Maranhas, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Piauli.


Upon the request of the MMA (Ministry of the Environment) another training course on Integrated water resource management at the river basin level was organised in Vitória (Espiritu Santo) by IOWater for the implementation of the Federal Law n° 9433 of 8 January 1997. It allowed the introduction to different experiences on the implementation of integrated water resource management in France, Europe and various parts of the world.

This course, honoured by the presence of the Federal Secretary for Water Resources, Mr. Raymundo Garrido and of the State Secretary for the Environment, Mr. Almir Bressan Junior, was interactive and allowed the 50 participants, coming from the whole Union, to become aware of:

  •   the notion of comprehensive water resource management;
  •   the need for the involvement of the Civil Society and the users in the decision-making process in order to play an active part in the River Basin Committees and participate in the technical discussions which will take place with the on-going creation of Water Agencies.

Several lectures dealt with experiences on the management of transboundary rivers, an issue of prime importance in Brazil, due to many rivers being shared with neighbours and the federal character of the country with many watercourses shared by several States of the Union.


The International Office for Water participated in the Parana State’s project aiming to modernise its institutional organisation regarding water resource management.

In collaboration with SOGREAH and COBRAPE (Brazilian partner), IOWater was entrusted with:

- an in-depth definition of the training programme necessary for the implementation of the decided upon reforms
- an institutional expert's mission, based on the experience acquired by IOWater in many developing countries.

This project enabled the passing of the Water Law, which uses the main principles of modern water resource management., in the Parana State at the end of 1999.

Therefore, the new legal framework plans for integrated, decentralised and participatory management at the level of the main river basins, the setting-up of basin organisations and the establishment of charges for water use and pollution. It was a very encouraging example on the Brazilian and Latin-American scale.

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