Stream arrangement: legal issues


This article examines the issue of stream arrangement according to Greek law and jurisprudence.

Arrangement of a watercourse is called the intervention in the watercourse, with the execution of the necessary works with the aim of improving the flow conditions, reducing the risks of flooding and controlling erosion and deposits of transported materials. These projects include the diversion of the water stream, as well as its replacement with a closed or open technical project in the same or a different location.

What technical works are allowed regarding the streams?

The state has a constitutional obligation to maintain all types of watercourses in their natural state in order to ensure their functioning as ecosystems, and only the execution of the absolutely necessary technical works to arrange their bed and slopes to ensure the free flow of water is permitted, excluding any altering their physical condition by filling or covering their bed or technical intervention at their branching points (StE 572-3/2012 7m., 899/2011 7m., 3849/2006 7m., 2591/2005 7m., 4577/1998 , etc.)

The area occupied by the stream, after its legal delimitation, cannot be characterized as buildable or as an area intended for the construction of public buildings, but exclusively as a common area, excluding any work of filling or covering the stream. Absolutely necessary technical works to arrange the stream bed and slopes are only allowed to ensure the free flow of water.

The dependence of the demarcation on any stream arrangement projects

The administrative procedure for the formation of a file of demarcation and approval/sanction of stream boundaries depends on:

  • Who draws up the scoping file
  • Whether or not settlement projects are foreseen
  • Whether the stream is located in a declared archaeological site/traditional settlement/in an area of ​​approval/amendment of a city plan.

Sectional demarcation is also allowed. Separate procedures are distinguished, depending on whether there are settlement projects on the stream.

Plumbing design and settlement works

In the event that, from the hydraulic study of the demarcation file, settlement projects/flood protection projects are foreseen, which are classified in the A΄ category of projects, according to the 1958/13.1.2012 decision of the Minister of Environment and Energy, as applicable from time to time, then for the approval of the hydraulic design requires compliance with the process of approval of the environmental conditions of these projects by the department responsible for environmental licensing, in accordance with the written provisions of Law 4014/2011.