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Burundi Water Code adopted – A true progress

The Parliament recently adopted the first Burundi Water Code, a general law providing the standards, the guiding principles in the sector and the legal and institutional frame of water sector, to enable the good governance of potable water services for Burundian population and sustainable management of water resources in the country.

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The adoption of the water code proposal by the two parliament houses is a considerable progress in the development of water sector. In the aim of providing potable water and appropriate basic sanitation to all Burundian population, Burundi got engaged in a reform process for water sector since 2007. The reform intends to provide the sector with an appropriate legal and institutional frame, to ensure an effective and efficient management of water resources and render more sustainable the basic water and sanitation services.

The legal frame of water sector in Burundi evolved with time. It went through the status where water was a common asset, supposed to be abundant and inexhaustible that everyone could use as he wishes, up to the status of water ownership by the Government under some reserves legally authorized. However, it is surprising to notice that this legal frame was not complete and the existing legal texts remained non operational as they were lacking by-laws and a wide dissemination to stakeholders.

All those shortcomings and inconsistencies have to be consequently corrected by the Water Code which must be complete at its level, and more coherent and well adapted to baseline data characterizing the water resource management.

In the development of the water code which started in 2010, experts took into account the provisions of some international conventions such as the United Nations Frame Convention on Biodiversity, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the Convention on Sustainable Management of Lake Tanganyika.

Senators voted 100% amendments proposed by the commissions consulted, and these amendments are added to those provided by the Parliament during its adoption which took place on 23rd December, 2011. The next step is the promulgation by the President of the Republic of this law containing many innovations.

Source : Newsletter « Réformes Eau et Assainissement au Burundi »

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