▷ Before the enforcement of the Framework Act on Water Management to promote the national IWRM and participatory basin-level IWRM, its enforcement decree passed the cabinet meeting on June 4th.
▷ The enforcement decree stipulated the details of the agenda, which was delegated by the Framework Act, to complete the enforcement process on the establishment of four basin-level water resources management committees, to select members of the national and basin-level committees, and establish the mediation process of water-related disputes.
The Ministry of Environment (Minister Cho Myung-rae) announced that the draft on the 'Enforcement Decree of the Framework Act on Water Management (hereafter 'The Enforcement Decree')' was passed by the cabinet meeting on June 4th and would be enforced from June 13th.
'The Framework Act on Water Management (hereafter 'the Framework Act')' is the highest act providing a statutory base for integrated water resources management (IWRM). The act was promulgated on June 12th last year, and its legal system was completed after the process to pass the lower statutes throughout a year.
The enforcement of the Framework Act is the first step toward a national scale IWRM and basin-level water management system based on participation and cooperation.
The Framework Act stipulates the foundational ideas and principles* of water management that the central and municipal governments must consider in the making and implementing of their water management policies.
* Basin-level management of water to maintain sound water circulation for the sake of public interest, and the guarantee of fair water distribution, water ecosystem protection, and the participation of every stakeholder.
Furthermore, other key content area of the Framework Act includes the establishment of 'The National Water Resources Management Committee (hereafter 'the national committee')' and 'The Basin Water Resources Management Committees (hereafter 'the basin committees')', developments of 'The Basic Plan for National Water Resources Management (hereafter 'the national plan')' and 'The Comprehensive Plan for Basin Water Resources Management (hereafter 'the basin plan')', and introduction of the water disputes mediation system.
The main content area of the 'Enforcement Decree', which stipulates the Framework Act's delegated agenda of implementation, are as follows:
1. Establishment and Operation of the National and Basin Water Resources Management Committees
Article 20 of the Framework Act stipulates the establishment of the national committee (under direct control of the president, a joint deliberative body of the government and private experts) and the basin committees per each basin under the national committee. Accordingly, the Enforcement Decree stipulates the names of the basin committees, delegated by the Framework Act, as the Han River, Nakdong River, Geum River, Yeongsan River, and Seomjin River Basin Committees, and it designates the areas of management for each committee.
In addition, the Enforcement Decree stipulates public officials and organizations to be added to the national and basin committees, other than the members who are stipulated in the Framework Act.
The heads of Korea Forest Service and Korea Meteorological Administration are the public officials to be the members of the national committee, and the heads of Korea Rural Community Corporation, Korea Water Resources Corporation, Korea Environment Corporation, and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power will represent their organizations in the committee.
The public officials to be the members of each basin committee are the heads of each river basin or local environmental office, flood control office, river environment research center, regional construction and management administration, regional office of meteorology, and regional forest management office, in each area managed by its basin committee, and the employees and executives of the public organizations represented in the national committee are also added to the basin committees in their regions.
< Delegated Agenda regarding the National and Basin Water Resources Management Committees (Article 21 and 23 of the Framework Act) >
▷ (Members of the National Water Resources Management Committee) Minister of Minister of Economy and Finance, Minister of the Interior and Safety, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, Minister of Environment, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, Minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination, Chairpersons of each basin water resources management committee, and other public officials prescribed by Presidential Decree and heads of public organizations prescribed by Presidential Decree.
▷ (Members of the Basin Water Resources Management Committees) Mayors and governors in each basin, one public official who is experienced in water management tasks, and one employee or executive of a public organization recommended by the heads of the organizations who are prescribed by Presidential Decree.
Details about meetings, subcommittees, and the secretariat to assist the operations of the national and basin committees are also stipulated.
In principal, the regular meetings of the national and basin committees are held quarterly. And subcommittees per each department to review the agenda to be discussed in the national and basin committees are formed in advance, consisting of about 15 members each.
Furthermore, the secretariat, which is to be established within the national committee, will be in charge of reviewing the agenda to be discussed in the national committee, providing operational support to the committee through agreements and mediations, PR and foreign cooperation.
2. Establishments of the Basic Plan for National Water Resources Management and the Comprehensive Plan for Basin Water Resources Management
Along with the details regarding the establishment and operation of the water management committees, the Enforcement Decree stipulates details of the highest legal plan for water resources management as well.
The national plan, which will be developed under the Minister of Environment, must include plans for international cooperation on water resources management, and yearly evaluations of the performance status of the national plan. The basin plans developed under the chairpersons of the basin committees must include the plans for the promotion of the water industry in each basin, and yearly evaluations of the performance status of the basin plans.
< Key Contents of the Water Management Plans and Delegated Agenda (Article 27 and 28 of the Framework Act) >
▷ (The Basic Plan for National Water Resources Management) △Basic goals and directions of the national water management policy △Evaluation of the results of the national water management policy, and the changes of and predictions about water management environments △Preservation of water environment, supply/use/distribution of water, and a mid- to long-term predictions about supply and demand of water resources △Reduction and prevention of water-related disasters △Promotion of the water industry △Agenda on the mid- to long-term investment of water management budget △Other agenda prescribed by Presidential Decree for sustainable water management
▷ (The Comprehensive Plan for Basin Water Resources Management) △Changes and predictions about water-related situations in the basins △Development, preservation and diversification of water resources in the basins △Reduction and prevention of water-related disasters in the basins △Preservation of water environment in the basins △Estimation on the costs of water management in the basins and financing plans △Participation and stakeholders △ Other agenda prescribed by Presidential Decree for sustainable water management
Also, the main legal plans included in the Act related to water resources management are stipulated to be developed in line with the national and basin planning systems.
The plans to be reviewed for accordance with the national and basin plans are Water Vision 2020, National Water Environment Management Basic Plan, and Groundwater Management Basic Plan. This is a system to secure the coincidence between legal plans regarding water resource management.
< Delegated agenda regarding the national and basin plans (Paragraph 3 of Article 27, and article 30 of the Framework Act) >
▷ The heads of related central administrative organizations (or local governments) must develop or change the plans for water resources management, which are prescribed by Presidential Decree, in accordance with the national plan (or basin plans). An establishment or modification of a plan for water resources management must be reviewed by the national (or basin) committee about their match with the national plan (or basin plans).
3. Introduction of the Water-related Disputes Mediation System
The Enforcement Decree stipulates the details of the 'Water-related Disputes Mediation System', which allows for the request of mediation pertaining to the national or basin committees, in cases of water-related disputes.
※ (Water-related Disputes) The disputes occurred by the differences between concerned parties in the development, use and management of water resources
The disputes over two or more basins are mediated by the national committee, and the disputes within a basin are mediated by their basin committee. However, the types of disputes that may cause a significant damage to public interest must be mediated by the national committee, even the disputes that occur within a basin.
Furthermore, the national or basin committees can start mediations of certain types of disputes without the requests of concerned parties, which may cause significant damages, including death, to the health and living environments of people or cause serious social conflict. This is a foundational system to solve chronic water-related disputes.
"By enforcing the 'Framework Act on Water Management', we have created a stepping stone toward an integrated water resources management system and a participatory water management system. The people will be able to feel the changes made by the new systems," stated Minister of Environment Cho Myung-rae. "As our next step toward IWRM, we will develop the First Basic National Water Management Plan (2021-2030) through a thorough preparation, which will provide a future direction for water resources management in Korea."