Valle d’Aosta in 1995 adopted rules to regulate the vital flow –

“There is no need to quickly prepare the regulatory provision to implement the transition from minimum vital flow to ecological flow because the regional provisions in force are already aligned with the indications provided by the Po river district basin authority for the adjustments required by the Water Framework Directive. ” Carlo Marzi, regional councilor for public works, replied in this way to Councilor Chiara Minelli.

Recalling that the production of hydroelectric energy represents the sector most remunerated by public finance through green incentives, the Councilor highlighted that “the Region, for at least ten years, has failed to enforce the minimum vital outflow given that the criminal proved ineffective. However, it cannot be denied that over time there have been various shortcomings in compliance with the rules, so much so that 163 penalties are pending ”.

“We believe – added the PCP councilor (in the picture) – that to overcome the ineffectiveness of the criminal prosecution and avoid having streams of water dry it is necessary to intervene by the Administration also to avoid any non-compliance, with possible financial damage due to lost revenues. Moreover, the European Directive provides for the activation of the transition from the minimum vital flow to the ecological one and the Regional Council should have implemented it by 31 December 2021 – as other Regions have done. Also in consideration of the forecasts of future decreases in water availability as a result of climate change, the use of public waters must be appropriately regulated “.

He then asked “if we intend to prepare in the short term a regulation to implement the transition to ecological runoff, in order to safeguard aquatic ecosystems and the maintenance of environmental objectives, avoiding excessive withdrawals by concessionaires with the consequent degradation of rivers and streams and whether it is intended to provide adequate tools and resources to carry out the checks. “

In the reply the commissioner (in the picture) he recalled that “since 1995 the Region has adopted a regulation of the minimum vital flow, which with the 2006 Water Protection Plan was further refined and extended to all hydroelectric concessionaires, who are required to release downstream of its derivations a water flow to safeguard the river ecosystem. The cases of non-compliance reported by the Forestry Corps are limited. What matters is how the flow rate is calculated, which since the 2006 PTA is calculated according to a system consistent with the definition of ecological runoff; moreover, for the new hydroelectric derivations (those after 2006), releases that are even higher than those proposed by the Basin Authority are expected. Our Region is also adopting much more refined methods on a number of cases and a territorial extension that has no equal at the national level: for this the Valle d’Aosta is cited by the Ministry of ecological transition as a virtuous example. In fact, experiments are active on our territory involving a total of 85 hydroelectric plants to further refine the determination of the releases to be guaranteed downstream of the derivations “.

“I acknowledge that there is no will to make a regulatory intervention – replied Councilor Minelli -, however I refer to actions carried out by other Regions, which despite having a similar situation to ours, have felt the need to regulate the passage to the ecological flow to institutionalize it (see Piedmont and Veneto): this is because there is not only a question of release, but a different way of understanding the type of release, which we think it would be appropriate to define, so that we no longer speak of minimum vital flow but of ecological flow. Regarding the virtuosity of our region, we maintain some doubts, but we believe that the discussion on the water protection plan will be an important moment of confrontation in the coming months. We hope that we can also review the position regarding the need to make a standard. “

The article is in Italian


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