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The environmental dimension of groundwater in Brazil : conflicts between mineral water and water resources management

Desenzi Gesicki, Ana Lucia and Sindico, Francesco (2014) The environmental dimension of groundwater in Brazil : conflicts between mineral water and water resources management. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 6 (16). pp. 1533-1545. ISSN 1945-3094

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Abstract

There are three legal categories of groundwater in Brazil. Mineral water and potable table water are considered mineral resources, are part of the Federative Union’s assets, and follow the legal regime applicable for the mining sector. “Normal” groundwater, on the other hand, falls under State’s jurisdiction and is dealt within the Brazilian System of Water Resource Management, which promotes a decentralized and participatory management of water resources on surface or stored underground. This has led to conflicts of competences between federal (mining regulation) and state agencies (water resource management) because different concepts and styles of management are involved. This article argues for the urgent need to reopen the discussion aimed at a possible major revision of Brazilian mineral water legislation, in order to duly take into account the environmental dimension of groundwater as a public good for common use. An open-minded and transparent discussion involving the government and different sectors of society with competing interests in mineralized groundwater would therefore be highly recommended.