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Water Governance



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The Constitution of Angola stipulates that water is the property of the state. The Law Delimiting Sectors of Economic Activity (Law 13/94, recently revised and published as Law 5/02 on 16 April 2002) specifies in Article 13 that the “collection, treatment and distribution of drinking water through fixed networks” and the provision of “basic sanitation” are areas of “relative reserve”. This implies that companies or other forms of private entities can participate in these sectors through fixed term concession contracts with the State.

Angolan legislation is issued at the national level through:

  • Laws, which are issued by the National Assembly;
  • Decree-laws and decrees, which are issued by the Council of Ministers; and
  • Regulations (executive decrees), joint executive decrees and dispatches, which are normally issued by a ministry or ministries (ERM 2009).

The Angolan Water Law from 2002 covers both integrated water resource management and water supply. Specific provisions of the law are determined in secondary legislation (regulations).

The 2002 Water Law makes provision for a private sector entity to be granted a water right, and then to apply for a licence or a concession to use water. The most common situation is for a licence to be granted for a renewable period of 15 years, whereas a concession is more significant in several respects, and is granted for up to 50 years.

Among other issues, the new Water Law specifies the duties and rights of licencees and concessionaires and the circumstances in which licences and concessions can be terminated. One of the main duties is to pay the levied taxes to cover the costs of water resource management. Operators are also required to pay tariffs for the use of any upstream infrastructure (SADC 2003).

The following table provides an overview on the legislative framework regarding water in Angola.

Summary of Relevant Angolan Environmental and Social Legislation


Applicable legislative instrument


Discharge to Surface Water (fresh and marine) and Groundwater

  • Law No. 6/02 - Water Law
  • Decree Law No.146/75 Concerning Water, Beaches and Shore pollution

Waste Management

  • Environmental Framework Law (No. 05/98)
  • Resolution 41/01 of 21 December 2001
  • Resolution No. 22/01


  • Law No. 21/92 - Law on the Internal Waters, Territorial Sea and the Exclusive Economic Zone
  • Law 6-A/04, Biological Water Resources Law
  • Fisheries Act, No. 20 of 1992


  • Environmental Framework Law 1998
  • Resolution No. 23/97 (ratifying the Convention on Biological Diversity)

Natural Heritage

  • Environmental Framework Law No. 5/98

Noise & Vibration

  • Environmental Framework Law No. 5/98


General Environmental Protection and Social and Environmental Assessment and Management Systems

  • Article 12 of the Constitution (Part I)

Rights and duties

  • Article 24 of the Fundamental Rights and Duties (Part II)

Social Issues under Environmental Law

  • Environmental Framework Law 1998 (5/98)
  • Article 5 (Aims and Measures)
  • Article 10 (Public Consultation)
  • Article 15 (Location of Infrastructures)

Access to fishing

  • Law No. 21/92, Law on the Internal Waters, Territorial Sea and the Exclusive Economic Zone
  • Executive Decree No. 33/98
  • Resolution No. 17/90 – Angola has ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

Resettlement and displacement

  • Angolan Constitution - Law No. 23/92 of September 16,2002
  • Law 23/92
  • Land Law No. 9/04 (General Land Law)
  • Ruling No. 37/95
  • Decree 1/01
  • Decree 79/02 of 6th December that regulates the Decree 1/01
  • Instructive 01/GABMINARS/2002
  • Resolution 1/91

Cultural Property

  • Ruling No. 80/76 - Preservation of Heritage Sites
  • Joint Executive Decree No. 46/91

Labor, Working Conditions and Employment

  • General Labor Law No. 2/00
  • Executive Decree No. 40/86
  • Resolution No. 5/01
  • Decree No. 20/82 (Angolanisation Decree)
  • Decree No. 31/94 on the System for Health, Safety and Hygiene at Work
  • Decree No. 5/95 on the employment of non resident of non-resident foreign workers in Angola
  • Decree No. 6/96 on General Regulations for the Hygiene and Safety at Work Services.
  • Decree on General Regulations governing the Industrial Accident Prevention Committees (IAPC) No. 21/98

Economic Conditions

  • Dispatch 127 National Assembly Law 1/04
  • Law No. 10/88 Law of Economic Activities
  • Law No. 21-B/92
  • Ruling 80

Land Issues

  • Land Law (nº 9/04 of November 9)

Local Authorities

  • Local Municipalities Act, No. 17 of 1999

Source: PJTC 2009

Angolan Water Laws on Transboundary Water Resources

The 2002 Water Law includes two articles (19 and 76) that refer specifically to transboundary water resources. These clearly state that Angola regards transboundary co-operation as being of cardinal importance: Article 76 states that the provisions of the Water Law should not compromise fulfilment of Angola's obligations in any already ratified international agreement. 

Article 19 gives Angola's objectives with respect to international cooperation in water management as follows:

  • Adoption of co-ordinated measures for the management of water resources in shared catchment basins, taking into account the interests of all states in the basin;
  • Just and reasonable allocation of common water or its joint use, in conformity with the interests and obligations assumed by the Republic of Angola; and
  • Control of water quality and soil erosion.

While protecting national interests, the National Water Directorate is empowered to promote international co-operation in order to ensure adequate management of shared hydrological basins.

The Water Sector Development Strategy reinforces this orientation to international cooperation, placing additional emphasis on integrated water resource management as a means to ensure longer-term environmental sustainability.  Integrated catchment management plans are to be drawn up for all major catchments.  These will facilitate fruitful dialogue with neighbouring states.

Source: SADC 2003




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