Distribution of other competences

  1. Agriculture
  2. Sports and spare time
  3. Energy
  4. Environment and effluents
  5. Waterworks
  6. Fishing
  7. Civil protection
  8. Public health


In the framework of article 148 of the Spanish Constitution, the Autonomous Communities have assumed the exclusive competence in agriculture, according with general ordenation of economy. They are directly related to the competence assumed by Autonomous Communities in irrigated land with regional interest, corresponding to these ones the programation and ejecution of waterworks in irrigated lands in intra community basins, althought it can be possible a statal intervention when the waterworks is classified as general interest.

If it is a inter community basin, the autonomious projects will be include in the basin plans, which approval corresponde to the Goverment. In this case, the State approval of the works that are necessary or incidental to the exercise of the powers of protection and utilization of water resources rightful order, ie, hydraulic works necessary for the irrigation of new land or for the granting of new concessions for irrigation.

Thus, among the mandatory assessments to be included in river basin plans, Article 42 g) l) of the Water Act includes the basic rules on improvements and changes in irrigation, the STC 227/88 justified because it fits in basic layout in the state competition on bases and coordination of economic planning, where the standards referred to in the legal precept strictly intend to achieve a better or more rational utilization of inland waters, essential economic resource and do not include other requirements on agricultural policy.

With the value given to them by constitutional jurisprudence, we must mention the decrees of transfers in terms of water supply, sanitation, referral, advocacy, and irrigated margins for those who are transferred to the Autonomous functions related to programming, approval and processing, until payment of the certificates of investments in works of interest in irrigation, adding that it may entrust the conduct of studies, drafting and execution of works to the Water Boards, and specifying that irrigation must meet the basic rules on the adoption of irrigation systems and types of farming to be promoted as part of the overall planning of irrigation, the overall economic management and regulation of the basic resources of the national economy.



Under the provisions of the article 148 of the Constitution, which allows the assumption of jurisdiction in relation to the promotion of sports and proper use of leisure, all regions have assumed Comundades exclusive jurisdiction on this matter.

In sports activities in relation to enter the field of water resources would cover the sports that can be done in rivers, and dams.

Similarly, competition would be related to water resources for sports facilities or sports in them.


Article 149 of the Constitution reserves to the State the exclusive competence of electrical Authorization when their use affects another region or the transport of energy out of its territory, and Article 149, the basis for regulation of mining and energy.

The Autonomous Communities have assumed in their statutes:


  • Exclusive jurisdiction over the production facilities, distribution and transport of energy when the use does not affect another region or the transport does not leave its territory.
  • Competition law development and execution of energy.

In both areas there are references to energy, within which would include hydroelectric power.

Would be related to responsibility for water production facilities of hydroelectric power do not affect another autonomous community, which fall within the scope of the regional competition.


In accordance with Articles 148 and 149 of the Constitution and the Statute of Autonomy, the State dictate the basic legislation protection of the environment and the Autonomous competition law development and implementation as well as the power to issue additional protective measures.

STC 227/88 regulate this matter particularly in FFJJ 25 to 27, of which include the following statements:


  • The Law 29/1985] Water is limited in general to establish some requirements first, to ensure the quality of inland waters and their environment, without reducing competition of the regional governments to develop or complement those general rules and to run in the scope of its administrative powers over the public water. Such requirements are easy to fit into the basic legislation on environmental protection, which the State crews is Sicted ex article 149 of the Constitution, so that process can not unconstitutional Articles 58, 89 d) and 91.


Regulation: The Title VIII of the TRLA.

Character: Method of public works with specific regulation, as already had roads, railways and ports.

Concept: Building construction aimed at:

  • The collection, extraction, desalination, storage, regulation, guidance, control and utilization of the waters.
  • Sanitation, purification, treatment and reuse exploited.
  • Artificial recharge of aquifers.
  • Acting on channels, the current regime correction and protection against floods.

These include: dams, reservoirs, canals, ditches, dams, pipelines, supply depots populations, desalination facilities, collection and pumping sewage, storm drains and sewage, sanitation, purification and treatment, gauging stations, piezometers, quality control networks, dams, channelization and flood defense, and actions necessary for the defense of DPH.

Requirement if it involves the granting of new water uses

You can not start construction without the prior grant, authorization or reservation demaniales, except in the case of emergency or declaration of hydrological extremes.

Ownership: Can be owned

  • Public: those designed to ensure the protection, control and use of inland waters and the DPH and the competence of the General State Administration, the Hydrographic Confederation of the Autonomous Communities and Local Government.
  • Private: the rest.

Distribution of Competences

  • General Administration: hydraulic works of general interest. Its management and operation can be performed directly by the relevant bodies of the Ministry of Environment, through the Water Boards, or by agreement or management entrusted to the Autonomous Communities.
  • Water Boards: waterworks carried out its own funds within the scope of the powers of the General State Administration.
  • Communities and Local Government: The other hydraulic works, in accordance with their respective statutes establishing and local government legislation.

This distribution of competences is governed by the principles of coordination, collaboration and cooperation.

Different authorities may enter agreements for the construction and operation of hydraulic works.

The Administration may assign different users' communities to the exploitation of hydraulic works that affect them.

Communities of users may be direct beneficiaries, without competition, concessions building and / or exploitation of hydraulic works that affect them.

Hydraulic and licenses and acts of urban control

We must distinguish between:

  • Hydraulic works of general interest including the supra-municipal area water planning, that do not deplete their functionality in the municipality where they are located, are not subject to licensing or any other act of municipal preventive control. Urban bodies can not suspend the execution of these works has been fulfilled the processing of previous report, the technical project is duly approved and works to conform to the project. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment shall notify the local authorities concerned the approval of the projects of the public water works, so that, if necessary, start the procedure for amending the municipal urban planning to accommodate the implementation of the new works.
  • The other hydraulic works themselves are subject to licensing and other acts of urban control.

Urban planning and hydraulic works

In intercommunity basins, approval, amendment or revision of the instruments of spatial planning and urban planning that directly affect the land earmarked for projects, works and water infrastructure in the public interest referred to in river basin management plans or Water Plan national required prior to initial approval, the binding report of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

The land reserved for the master plans for the realization of hydraulic works of general interest will be the classification and qualification resulting from the zoning laws applicable and suitable to preserve and ensure the functionality of such works.

Hydraulic and environmental impact

Hydraulic works projects of general interest are subject to the procedure of environmental impact assessment in cases provided for in the legislation of environmental impact  Royal Decree 1 / 2008 of January 11, which approving the consolidated text of the Law of Environmental Impact Assessment Project.

Hydraulic works of general interest

The initiative for the declaration of a hydraulic and general interest for the Ministry of Environment, ex officio or upon the person having interest in it (according to article 131.1 of TRLA), the rest of the ministerial departments of the General State Administration to the Autonomous Communities and local authorities, and user communities.

In the case of a hydraulic statement as interest shall:


  •      Weigh the adequacy of the project environmental requirements.
  •      Include a proposal for funding the construction and operation of the work, as well as fees and royalties to be paid by users. With report from the Ministry of Finance.

Approval of waterworks projects of general interest implies the declaration of public interest and the need to occupy the property and rights necessary for the purposes of expropriation and temporary occupation.

Sources: Jose Maria Muñoz Jiménez, Manual of the revised Water Law. Public Water Manual. 2001 ISBN: 84-607-3848-5


According to the provision contained in Article 148 of the Constitution, the Autonomous Communities have assumed the exclusive competence of river fishing. In the case of exclusive jurisdiction over an activity carried out necessarily in their own catchment areas, the complex integration of the two degrees of competence has been addressed by the Constitutional Court, which, among others in the STC 15/98, FFJJ 3 and 4 and the general approach developed from this competition to be addressed:

  • The cross and the eventual collision between these degrees of competence due to their projection on the same space or physical reality: the river basin formed by the supra.
  • They are home to fish fauna target species, and they exercise their competence River Basin, under the provisions of the Water Act (...) the award of a jurisdiction over a particular physical environment does not necessarily preclude to exercise other powers in that space, provided they both have different legal order, and that the exercise of autonomous powers do not interfere or disrupt the exercise of the state, so often, it will be essential to establish mechanisms for collaboration to allow the necessary coordination and cooperation between public authorities involved (...). Ultimately, the concurrence of jurisdiction can not be solved in terms of exclusion but it has to go to a record of accommodation and integration of competence titles - state and regional-that converge on the same space and, for that matter, are called to gloss over.
  • Recalling the doctrine contained in 243/93 and 161/96 JCC, adds that the only way to guarantee the autonomous exercise of jurisdiction over fishing and river ecosystems in which it develops is that intervention in the process of regional (...) grant in order to ensure that water use will not jeopardize the wealth of fish and the ecosystems in which it operates.
  • The importance of collaboration formulas as described above, must now be especially emphasized, because in many cases only through joint and coordinated actions - either by procedural forms of intervention, either through instruments of integration of sectoral policies, as planning- will be possible to exercise te regional competition on the river fishing without prejudice to the concurrent jurisdiction of the state and the principle of unity in the managment of water managment in the area of the basin.


In the field of civil protection, the State Administration, Autonomous Regions and Local Authorities, involved in relation to their respective territories. The State and the Autonomous Communities exercise in this area their powers within the framework set by the  Act 2 / 1985 of January 21 Civil Protection and the interpretation in constitutional jurisprudence (SSTC 123/84 and 133/90). The management of actions to be carried out is divided by the respective Plans. The development of these plans is done in the framework of the essential guidelines established by the Basic Rule of Civil Protection.

  • In relation to the water resources field, we must note that the contents of the Water Plans should include the criteria for studies, actions and works to prevent and avoid damage due to floods, water floods and other phenomena.

The measures can be established and contain the Hydrological Plan call for action should take into account the state and regional competitions in the field of civil protection, and even adjustments to make the assumptions that result in damage or disaster interventions the respective administrations. This is confirmed by the STC 227/88, the mandatory inclusion in the Water Plans of the criteria for studies, actions and works to prevent and avoid damage due to floods, water floods and other phenomena, is likely to be redirected the civil protection and in that sense, if it is understood that such criteria are simple generic prescriptions and do not involve coordinating the provision of activities and specific works can not be estimated to invade regional powers, as a manifestation of the general competence of public safety to State reserves the article 149 of the Constitution, according to what has already been declared in STC 123/1984 of 18 December.


The Constitution gives the State Competition on bases and general coordination of health (article 149.1.16), whereas, according to the Article 148.1. 21 on health and hygiene, and the Statute of Autonomy, the Autonomous Communities have generally assumed exclusive jurisdiction in the matter of sanitation and hygiene.

Different areas may be related to competition for water resources include:

  •      Quality of water from the field of sanitation
  •      Sanitation of water
  •      Waste disposal and sanitation

In this case it should be noted that since the area of ​​competence in public health are the Autonomous Communities who have the corresponding degrees of competence in the field.

It should be remembered about the STC 208/91 on quality control of drinking water:

     ... controls in question are clearly directed toward the protection of human health (....) leading to redress this activity, predominantly executive type (application of criteria before making specific assumptions of surface water) to competition on the protection of health (...) This means that quality controls on surface water intakes are (....) competition authorities of the autonomous region, whether such outlets corresponding surface river basins on the territory of the Community or watersheds that are integrated into various communities.