Chapter 3 Water Right
The term “water right” as referred to herein shall mean the right acquired according to law to use or make profits from surface or ground waters.
Except for circumstances provided under Article 42 hereof, non-citizen of the Republic of China may not acquire water right for the use of water, unless with special approval from the Executive Yuan through the central authority-in-charge.
Any entity, corporation, or people may acquire water right for a specific purpose; however, the use of water shall be subject to restrictions based on needs.
The priorities of water usage are as follows:
1. supply for domestic use and public use;
2. agricultural use;
4. industrial use;
5. navigation; and
Subject to the approval of the central authority-in-charge, the authority-in-charge may change the priority list above for a particular waterway or government-designated industrial zone in consideration of the actual circumstances.
The priority of water supply from a multiple-purpose reservoir shall be set according to the plan approved by the authority-in-charge, unless the right holders have agreed otherwise, provided that such an agreement has been submitted to and approved by the authority-in-charge.
Under the circumstances that public use is under supply and new water sources are unavailable, the authority-in-charge may suspend or revoke the water right granted except under subparagraph 1, paragraph 1 of the preceding article, or impose restrictions on usage.
In the event that the suspension, revocation, or restriction of water right under preceding paragraph causes material damages to the users, the authority-in-charge will assess the damages and approve remedies for such damages and impose the liabilities upon the public water supplier.
Where water right holders exchange the use of approved water intake in part or in whole, the parties shall enter a water exchange contract which takes effect following the approval of authority-in-charge. However, if the duration of the agreed exchange exceeds three years, the parties shall carry out registration change according to law.
When dispute arises among registered water right holders due to under supply of water, the holder who has a higher priority of usage shall be given the preemption; among those who have the same priority, the holder who acquired the right first shall be given the preemption; among those who have the same priority and acquired their rights at the same time, water shall be used on a pro rata basis according to the quantity stipulated on their respective water right deeds or by rotation. The rules for preemptive use of water shall be promulgated by the central authority-in-charge.
When water is under supply, the water right holder who is given preemptive use on account of his priority according to subparagraphs 2 ~ 6, paragraph 1 of Article 18 herein shall properly compensate water right holders who have registered their water right before he did, provided his preemptive use causes material damages to those water right holders. The amount of compensation is subject to the agreement of parties concerned. If no agreement is reached, the authority-in-charge will assess the damages and approve the amount, and impose the liability upon the one who has the preemptive use.
If the authority-in-charge determines, based on hydrological testing, that a certain water source under its jurisdiction will have a surplus within a certain period after meeting the water usage needs of all purposes, it may authorize temporary right of use to others for the same period. If the water supply runs short all of a sudden, the authority-in-charge may suspend such temporary rights.
If the authority-in-charge determines that scientific and technological advances have made water conservation possible under its jurisdiction, it may order water right holders to improve their water conveying or usage technology or facilities. The water so saved may be redistributed for use, provided that those who acquire the right to use the surplus water shall bear the costs and expenses of such improvement.
When a waterway changes its course under natural force, the water right holders thereof may petition the authority-in-charge to designate a proper intake location and conveying route along the new waterway for a part or whole of the authorized yield as stated on the water right deeds.
A water right holder who fails to use the water for two years consecutively will lose his water right and have his water right deed revoked by the authority-in-charge after investigation and publication of the fact, unless the authority-in-charge agrees otherwise to allow the holder to retain his right.
The authority-in-charge may reassign water right according to the prevailing usage when joint owners of a water right have a dispute over water usage.
The authority-in-charge may change or revoke the water right already registered by private individuals in order to meet the demand of a public utility; provided appropriate compensation to the private right holders shall be paid by the public utility.