Russia to allow acquisition of water bodies for private ownership

Water bodies in Russia will be allowed for sale into private ownership. This permission is stipulated in a draft New Water Code of Russia approved by the government at its Thursday session, deputy minister of economic development and trade Mukhamed Tsikanov told journalists during the break of the government's session.

Tsikanov specified that water bodies could be privatized only if they had no hydraulic links with other water bodies. Otherwise, the water regime of other bodies would be disrupted.

"You won't be able to buy Lake Baikal or many smaller lakes linked with other water bodies," the deputy minister said.

According to Tsikanov, during the draft's discussion the government made an important reservation: in the event that a water body crosses the border of two land plots, landowners can come to agreement, build a dam by joint efforts and thus make a joint water body.

The deputy minister further said that under the draft Water Code the water bodies of up to 2,000-sq. m could be acquired for private ownership." However, the discussion revealed that this figure had to be increased."

The draft Water Code will be finalized within a month, after which it will be submitted to the lower house of the Russian parliament, Tsikanov said.

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