The permits lay down the development and operating conditions that are deemed necessary for the protection of surface, ground and drinking water in accordance with the amended Water Act.
This mechanism to fight water degradation aims in particular to:
- protect the health of humans and animals and ensure environmental balance;
- protect the aquatic environment and achieve a sustainable use of water;
- ensure the sustainable supply of drinking water based on the long-term protection of the available resources;
- reduce the risk of flooding;
- protect the surrounding countryside and land.
Projects subject to authorisation under the amended Water Act must be approved by the Minister having the environment in his or her attributions.
Who is concerned
The water permit concerns all private or public natural or legal persons planning to carry out or set up any of the following as part of their activities:
- the extraction of water, solids or gases from surface or groundwater;
- the direct or indirect disposal of water of all forms, solids, gases or liquids other than water into surface or groundwater, including with the aim of artificially replenishing or increasing the groundwater supply;
- the subtraction and discharge of thermal energy from or through surface and groundwater;
- the elaboration of a special development plan (Plan d'aménagement particulier - PAP) for a new development;
- all works, developments, structures and installations located in riparian zones or flood-prone areas;
- any infrastructure for the abstraction, treatment or purification of water and the storage of water intended for human consumption;
- any works, construction, storage, installation or activity within protected areas or water reserves of national interest;
- construction, civil engineering, public works, and similar activities on or in the ground and that include contact with groundwater;
- the development and operating of quarries, mines and mining companies;
- any creation of or change to a direct or indirect connection between surface and groundwater, particularly boring or sealing the bed of a watercourse;
- any work likely to modify the water flow pattern or mode of flow, or to have a detrimental influence on aquatic fauna and flora, with the exception of small-scale or emergency maintenance work;
- installations and works modifying the hydrological regime of surface waters, in particular those intended for the production of hydroelectric power;
- the stripping of vegetation from riparian areas, in particular the uprooting of trees, shrubs and bushes.
Connections to the public sewerage system and the drinking water distribution network are not subject to authorisation under the amended Water Act.
How to proceed
Preparing the application
Applicants can complete their application for a water licence either via a MyGuichet.lu assistant which allows the electronic transfer of the file to the Water Management Agency, or via paper forms that require the file to be sent by post to the Water Management Agency.
The application must include following items:
- the signed authorisation application form (F-AUT-GEN paper form or MyGuichet.lu);
- any additional form(s) indicated on the F-AUT-GEN form or MyGuichet.lu;
- a recent cadastral map (extract from the land register) showing the parcels of land concerned or portions thereof (scale 1:2,500);
- an extract from a topographical map indicating the planned location of the establishment (scale 1:10,000);
- an explanatory memorandum;
- a precise plan of the intended location (depending on the project);
- a plan of the piping networks (rainwater and used water piping) in the event of discharge water, and the calculations and sections of the infiltration system in the event of water ingress;
- any other document that helps to clarify the project (e.g. photographic documentation).
Electronic application procedure
Authentication with a LuxTrust certificate is required in order to use the electronic application procedure on MyGuichet.lu.
The MyGuichet.lu assistant guides the applicant through the procedure by customising which information is required and which documents must be included in the application file depending on the type of project. This guarantees the maximum efficiency of the processing.
It is recommended to submit an application for a water permit even if the project is subject to a classified establishment permit (Class 1, 3, 3A, 3B).
The Water Management Agency checks whether the file is complete and, if necessary, informs the applicant if any documents are missing.
Application procedure by post
Three copies of the application file must be sent to the Water Management Agency. If more than one commune is territorially concerned by the project, 1 additional copy is to be added per commune concerned.
It is not necessary to submit an application for a water permit if the project is subject to a classified establishment permit (Class 1, 3, 3A, 3B). In that case, the applicant must include 3 additional copies in their application for a classified establishment permit.
The Water Management Agency assesses the completeness of the application and then informs the applicant of the assessment and indicates any elements which may be missing.
Notification of the decision to authorise or refuse a permit is sent to the applicant within 3 months following the date on which confirmation that the application is complete is sent.
Public inquiry an notification of the application
After receiving the application, the Water Management Agency forwards a summary of the application for information and public display to the communal administration whose territory is concerned.
The decision granting or refusing authorisation is notified to the applicant and, in copy, to the commune whose territory is concerned within 3 months of the sending of the letter certifying that the file is complete.
A certificate stating that the application for authorisation has been the subject of a ministerial decision is issued by the mayor and is posted for 40 days at the town hall.
This certificate mentions in particular that the public can view the decision and the plans relating to it at the town hall.
The Portal for Public Inquiries is set to become the reference site for online consultation of files that are subject to a public inquiry as well as the official opinions related to these files.
The "Inquiries" section contains all the information relating to public enquiries and allows users to consult the details of a public enquiry (e.g. the opening and closing date), the file subject to a public enquiry, information relating to an information session, contact details of the authority responsible for organising the public enquiry, etc.). The portal also offers the possibility for interested parties to submit, by electronic means, their contributions relating to a public enquiry directly to the relevant authorities.
Appeals against the decisions taken can be filed with the Administrative Tribunal, which rules as a judge on the merits. Appeals must be lodged, under penalty of foreclosure, within 40 days of notification of the decision.
The appeal is also open to associations approved in accordance with the amended law of 19 December 2008 on water.
For appeals against a decision on an application for authorisation, these associations are deemed to have a personal interest.
Development/operation of the object of the application
Development/operation of the object of the application may only begin after obtaining the ministerial order(s).
The water authorisation does not exempt from the need to obtain other authorisations required under other legal provisions applicable to different matters, in particular:
- building permits;
- authorisations with regard to the protection of nature and natural resources;
- operating permits for classified establishments ('commodo/incommodo');
- deforestation/clearing permits;
- roadworks permits;
- authorisations concerning historical sites and monuments.
Special procedure for new boreholes/wells
The application procedure for authorisation to take groundwater from a new borehole or well is divided into 2 phases:
- phase 1: authorisation to carry out drilling and pumping tests.
The first authorisation enables applicants to carry out exploratory drilling and pumping tests in order to determine the possible water quantity that can be drawn.
- phase 2: operation of the borehole or well.
Once the results of the drilling and pumping tests have been obtained, a second application for authorisation is to be sent to the Water Management Agency for the extraction of groundwater from new borehole(s)/well(s).
Applications can be made in the same way as the general procedures.
Procedure for renewal/modification of an authorisation
Procedure for renewal of an authorisation
This procedure only applies to projects whose authorisation is liable to lapse or expire.
An authorisation with no time limit, for which work is in progress and for which the duration of the work exceeds 2 years, does not need to be renewed.
Procedure for modification of an authorisation
Applications to amend an authorisation may be made in the same way as the general procedures.