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From 500 to 3,000 euro is the fine for an illegal drill

29 September 2014 / 16:09:56  GRReporter
1865 reads

Greece’s territory is "perforated" by 200,000 drills and wells, which threatens thousands of acres of agricultural land due to the uncontrolled use of water resources.

The problem is serious in many areas of Greece and there is a risk of a radical change in the soil map of the country. The main reason lies in the fact that the drills and wells dug in Greece, often without the proper permission, are the cause for landslides, thus increasing the risk of flooding.

Simultaneously, the use of water without any control may lead to drought, with all the negative consequences on crops. In an attempt to control the situation, the Ministry of Environment threatens to issue hefty fines.

In particular, serious fines of up to 5,000 euro threaten those owners and users of wells and drills who have "forgotten" to submit to the national register the relevant application for registration of water intake points. By the deadline that, after numerous extensions, expires on Tuesday, 30 September 2014, all owners and users who had received a permit before 20 December 2005 as well as those who have never received a permit must submit to the municipality the necessary documents for registration.

Despite the efforts made, the problem with the registration of water intake points has remained unresolved for years. At the same time, the estimates of the Ministry of Environment show that there are about 200,000 such points in Greece in total, 20% (or 40,000) of which are considered as illegal.

This time the procedure is simple and requires only geographic data on the water intake points and an affidavit. The idea is to facilitate mainly farmers, who are the main target of the measures.

So far, the biggest problem has been detected in areas with established concentration of drills and wells. Such is the case with Argolis area, where their number is 17,000, according to estimates, and with Thessaly field that includes four areas (Larissa, Magnesia, Trikala, Karditsa), where it is expected that their number will be between 35,000 and 38,000. In large urban areas such as Athens and Thessaloniki the problem occurred after 1990 and the severe drought, and very small drills and wells have begun to "sprout" since then that could eventually avoid registration.

The provisions

The general ministerial decision provides for the obligation of entering all existing water intake points into an electronic register in the form of geospatial database which will include a general index of the water intake points, i.e. their geographical coordinates as marked on the digital map of the country.

According to the ministerial decision, it will not be necessary for citizens to follow a complicated procedure because when they submit the declaration, the local water directorates will automatically complete the registration. At the same time, those who do not declare in due time the ownership/use of water resources will be subject to a fine of 1,000-5,000 euro, depending on the amount of extracted water, the severity and frequency of the offense. The submission to the national register of the application for registration of water intake points, the deadline for which will expire tomorrow, has to be followed by the issuance of a permit for the use of water, the deadline for which is extended until the end of January 2015.

Permits and fines

Under the new legislative framework, the applications for permits will be submitted to the local municipalities and will be issued by the authorities of the decentralized administration. All those who have obtained a permit will have to install a water flow meter or electrometer. When declared, the illegal drills will be considered as new water intake points, after the payment of the relevant fine. The draft of the general ministerial decision concerns the determination of the categories of licences for the use of water resources and for the completion of projects for their utilization. It is noteworthy that the fines for the illegal use of water or for the abstraction of a larger amount of water than that specified in the permit are in the range of 500-3,000 euro.

 

Tags: DrillsWellsNational registerMinistry of EnvironmentDecisionFines
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