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Gestão das águas minerais no Brasil : panorama legal atual e perspectivas futuras

Desenzi Gesicki, Ana Lúcia and Sindico, Francesco (2013) Gestão das águas minerais no Brasil : panorama legal atual e perspectivas futuras. Revista do Instituto Geológico, 34 (2). pp. 69-88.

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Abstract

Mineral waters in Brazil are legally treated as a mineral resource, have their own specific legislation (1945 Code of Mineral Waters), which follows the general procedures for granting rights regarding mining activity in Brazil. These principles are in conflict with both the 1988 Federal Constitution, which delegates the domain over groundwater to the States, as well as the legislation regarding the environment and water resource management that came into force in the 1980s. Modern legislation has introduced an environmental dimension to waters in general, including groundwater, and defined it as an inalienable public good for common use. Mineral waters are defined by law as potable groundwaters of regular chemical composition and presumed medicinal action, protected from surface contamination. Some original concepts of the mineral water law have been profoundly changed especially with regard to their therapeutic effect and use in spas and hydrothermal resorts. Nowadays, mineral waters are primarily used in the production of bottled beverages, and they are barely distinguishable from ordinary groundwater in terms of chemical and physical-chemical composition. The current political climate in Brazil is particularly favorable for reopening the discussion for updating mineral water legislation because the National Congress is evaluating a bill regarding new legislation for the Brazilian mining sector. The law-making process for mineral waters should take into account modern concepts of hydrogeology, chemistry and medicine, as well as the fundamentals of sustainable development and protection of the environment introduced by the Constitution. It is highly recommended that this issue be subject to an open-minded, transparent and democratic debate, with full participation of government institutions and the various sectors of society that have competing interests in the use of groundwater resources.