On May 30, the Department of Water and Electric Energy of the State of São Paulo (DAEE) published Administrative Rule No. 1630 in order to update and simplify the procedures for obtaining authorization to use water resources. The publication revokes Ordinance No. 717/1996, which has been in force for 21 years.

The rule provides, as a priority, technical and administrative procedures to obtain authorization of right of use and interference in water resources in the domain of the State of São Paulo or dismissal of such authorization.

As of July 1, when the rules came into force, DAEE will have 120 days to analyze the requirements for declaration of feasibility of implementation of the project, registration of uses exempted from authorization, licenses to drill wells, and authorizations of right of use of or interference with water resources. The rules also provide for tacit renewal of authorizations in cases in which the application for renewal is timely and there is no response by DAEE within 30 days after the expiration.

With the simplification of the procedure, the expectation is to accelerate the issuance of authorizations in order to encourage the regularization of users, including those who drilled artesian wells without authorization during periods of drought. There is also an expectation of increased supervision by DAEE, which may impose fines on irregular users, besides the immediate suspension of unauthorized activities of water abstraction, effluent discharge, and interference with water resources.

The requests submitted to DAEE before the issuance of Ordinance No. 1,630/2017 may be canceled and presented again per the new regime.

DAEE published five other ordinances related to the use of water from groundwater reuse in buildings and civil works and the use of groundwater resources originating with remediation processes in contaminated areas.