Water represents one of the most essential natural resources on the planet Earth and in that regard, it is being repeatedly studied. In fact, water never ceases to be an object of general interest. Each research reveals unknown details. From a chemical point of view, very simply, water consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. However, from a biological point of view, water is not nearly so simple, but represents a resource without which no form of life is possible.
Speaking about the use and availability of water, there is no doubt that every person needs access to water. For that reason, the UN General Assembly adopted UN Resolution 64/292 recognizing the right to access to a sufficient amount of water and sanitation for personal use as a human right that belongs to every person. The importance and position of water resource is equally recognized by our legislator, therefore water is not considered as an item in the sense of the Law on Real Rights, but rather a resource that should be available to everyone. Furthermore, the Law on Waters of the Republic of Srpska states that water represent a “common good” and as such falls under a specific protection. The same law in its Article 3 points out that water is not a commercial product, but a heritage that must be preserved, protected and treated as such. The same Article emphasizes the use of water, as well as the water management, has to be carried out in a rational and sustainable manner in order to prevent unnecessary use of water so that the use of water does not exceed the level of natural renewal of resources. Among other things, the aforementioned law regulates integral water management, financing of activities, administrative bodies, public services and institutions in the water sector, water facilities and other issues related to integral water management in the Republic of Srpska.
Generally speaking, since each country takes care of the waters within its borders, there are two models of water management, private and public, as well as increasingly modern forms of public-private partnerships. In our country, we mostly encounter public models of water supply management, and the advantages of this management model are primarily related to the fact that the performance of this activity is not aimed at making a profit, as is the case when water supply is managed by private companies. Further, it provides that the users, i.e., consumers have to pay the price which does not exceed the social category, which is especially important in countries with a low standard of living, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina. Along with this argument there is a fact of more straightforward responsibility, control and supervision when this activity is performed in the public sector.
The statutory regulation of water supply at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina is entrusted to the entities. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Srpska, it is stipulated that the municipality regulates and ensures the performance of public utility services and takes care of the satisfaction of citizens’ needs, which is why this activity is entrusted to local self-government bodies. Furthermore, according to the Law on Public Utility Services of the Republic of Srpska, the production and delivery of water is a utility service of public interest, and its performance can be performed by a public utility company established by a local self-government unit, but these tasks can also be entrusted to other economic (business) entities. With this provision, the legislator offered a possibility of performing this activity by private entities. Although complete or even partial privatization of this sector is promoted as an effective solution, it should be borne in mind that in addition to certain advantages, there are still objections and shortcomings of this system.
Although Bosnia and Herzegovina represents an extremely wealthy country in this significant resource, it encounters many problems in terms of water supply, starting with supervision and control, but also with all forms of misuse. In addition, we can add that the problem is further complicated by many challenges like high pollution, the rapid increase in the number of the population and the impact of climate changes on the macro and micro level, which is why it is extremely significant to adequately arrange the water management model and adapt it to the country’s population.
According to all of the above and due to the importance of water, undoubtedly, the establishment of a sound statutory framework for the regulation of water status and the water supply system forms the foundation of every society and proper regulation, management and control form the pillar of adequate provision of water supply, both for the population and the economy.
Author: Nikolina Zubac
E-mail: [email protected]