Current challenges concerning the law of water services in Hungary

Author:János ede Szilágyi
Position:Associate professor, PhD, dr. habil., Faculty of Law, University of Miskolc (e-mail:
Water-related challenges exist in almost every countr y all around the world. These challenges
encompass pr oblems connected to different scientific fields, including la w. The legal ba ckground of
water issues is quite fragmented and, furthermore, consists of different levels of law i.e. international,
EU a nd national law as well. Though, the present pa per focuses on the Hungar ian water-r elated
legal cha llenges, it is a bsolutely clear that these cha llenges might not be solved without the
achievements of other scientific fields (beyond law), and without a multi-level and comprehensive legal
approa ch. This paper pr esents the most important focal points of the Hungarian water -legislation (i.e.
water law concepts) in consideration of which the law-makers adopt the law concerning water
management and water protection. By now, these water law concepts have been developed separ ately
from each other. The present paper dra ws attention to the importance of integrative instruments among
water law concepts. These integra tive instruments are elementary to solve the challenges of the 21st
century. The pa per provides some examples of these integrative instr uments. Afterwards, one of the
water law concepts is ana lysed in a deeper way; tha t is the so-called `water as a na tural resour ce and
the subject of commercial deals´, and especially its sub-categor y, water services. In connection with
water ser vices, the pa per also a ssesses the so-called Arad-Békés water ser vice agr eement accor ding
to which the Hungar ian and Romanian parties endeavor to transfer dr inking water from Romania to
Hungary. Such solutions in water utility supplies may be regarded r elatively rar e.
Keywords: water management law, water la w concepts, water services, water utility supplies,
agricultur al water services.
1. Introduction
Water and the connected social issues
are regarded as the most significant
challenges of the 21st century. These
challenges might merely be solved in a
transdisciplinary and multi-level (i.e.
international and national) way. The
Associate professor, PhD, dr. habil., Faculty of Law, University of Miskolc (e-mail:
See e.g. Bruce Aylward et al., edit., Law for water management: a guide to concepts and effective approaches
(Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization, 2009); Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Fresh Water in International
Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015); Daniel D. Bradlow and Salman M. A. Salman, Regulatory
frameworks for water resources management (Washington D.C.: The World Bank, 2006); David H. Getches, Sandra
B. Zellmer and Adell L. Amos, Water Law in a Nutshell (St. Paul: West Academic Publishing Co., 1997); Antoinette
Hildering, International law, sustainable development and water management (Delft: Eburon Publishers, 2004);
Stephen Hodgson, Modern water rights: Theory and practice (Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization, 2006).
decision-makers at both international
(including the European Union) and national
level are dealing with these challenges
nevertheless, it should be noted that their
responses so far have not provided a final
solution to the raised problems. In the
present paper, the author endeavours to
focus on the legal aspects of the water-
related social issues, and intends to assess

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