Table of Contents

Water and the Law

Water and the Law

Towards Sustainability

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series

Edited by Michael Kidd, Loretta Feris, Tumai Murombo and Alejandro Iza

Water and the Law examines the critical relationship between law and the management of water resources in the context of ensuring environmental sustainability. It highlights the central importance of integrated water resources management and cooperation in achieving sustainability. The book considers two broad themes: how law can contribute to the sustainability of water itself and how the law’s regulation of water can contribute to the sustainability of life – both human life as well as that of other species in their natural environment.

Chapter 8: The protection of riparian forests and water resources conservation in Brazil

Maurício D. dos Santos, Carolina Dutra, Vladimir Garcia Magalhães and José Carlos L. da Silva

Subjects: environment, environmental governance and regulation, environmental law, water, law - academic, environmental law, water law


Water is the fundamental basis on which all the biochemical and physiological processes are developed that vouch for the maintenance of life. In all of its forms, it is one of the most essential resources for life. For humans, water represents biological, social, economic and cultural values. In this sense, legal systems and policies must promote a sustainable system to protect the quantity and quality of water resources. On the one hand we have many laws relating to water, as international treaties, regional agreements and national statutes relating to biodiversity, climate change, pollution and other issues, all of which have an impact on water sources. On the other hand, not all of these hard- and soft-law instruments are based on a vision of sustainability. They are inspired by different visions and the means to achieve them. Furthermore, those rules usually do not consider the natural features of the spaces with which they are concerned, addressing important questions such as resources conservation and pollution control, but disregarding fragile ecological processes that provide benefits to humankind, such as clean water. So they may be achieving very different levels of success. As we will see, this is no different in the Brazilian reality. Focusing on the environmental services provided by riparian forests connected to water protection, this chapter will first analyse the interaction and harmonization between the Brazilian Forest Code and the National Policy of Water Resources.

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