Keywords: citizens', participation, environmental protection, sustainable water use, water legislation, water resources management
Innovation in water legislation in Italy: ecosystem protection and stakeholders participation
Main innovations in the field of water management and pollution control, introduced by legislation in Italy in the last decade, derive from a few general social trends, such as the awareness of the need for environmental protection and demand for improved public services management. In particular, two innovative principles, namely the sustainability of water use and the stakeholders' participation in water resources planning and management, have affected the recent legislative acts. In this paper, a review of Italian water legislation development on water resources use, flood defence, and pollution control is presented, indicating main links with European directives. On the basis of such a review, it is pointed out that legislators have tried to improve the institutional structure for planning and management of water supply systems, as well as to solve the conflicts between water withdrawal uses and ecological in-stream uses and to allow a wider public access to information on water issues. However, a very slow implementation of water reform has been experienced, particularly at regional level. Efforts for putting into practice protection of water ecosystems and participation of citizens in decision-making seem be necessary and can be fostered by the new EU Water Framework Directive.