The Hungarian water resources management differentiates the water resources: (i) surface and (ii)
sub-surface waters, and these are further divided based on their character (e.g.: standing waters,
watercourses, canals, shallow groundwaters, aquifers, etc..
96% of the Hungarian surface water resources originated from upstream countries. Surface water
are frequently polluted by negligent human activities, but shortly after the ceasing of the contamination,
waters are quickly recover. The protection of surface water quality is more stressed, if drinking
water is abstracted. Drinking water supply is mainly done from groundwater resources in Hungary.
The Carpathian Basin is mainly covered by porous strata (sandy, pebbly), where huge amounts of confined
water can be found. Although the volume of karstic water is significantly lower in Hungary, its value
has great importance because of its very good quality. This groundwater resource is the most endangered
by anthropogenic activities. Most of the shallow groundwaters are already polluted by human activities.
Regulation handle surface and groundwaters separately. One of the key instrument of the protection
is the proper set of those limits, at which the substances in water do not affect the use value of water.
Water resources are also differentiated as perspective and operational water resources. The
protection of perspective water resources is a Governmental task according to the LVII. Law on Water
Management enforced in 1995. Whereas the protection of operational water resources has to be enforced
by the Local Government (LXV./1990 Law on the tasks of Local Governments). However, if a regional,
operational system is still state-owned, than the responsibility is at the national Government.
Hungary as a new Member State of the European Union has to follow the EU Water Framework Directive
on this matter; therefore, the planning and the protection of both surface and groundwater resources
are carried out according to the requirements of the Water Framework Directive, and timing is the
same as in any other Mamber State:
1. Watershed characterisation, water body delineation, identification of protecte areas (by
2. implementation of the new monitoring network that enable the identification of the environmental
target for each water body (by 22.12.2006)
3. Ready to implement River Basin Management Plans (by end of 2008)
4. Implementation of the cost-recovery principle (by end of 2010)
5. Execution of the measures (based on the River Basin Management Plans by 2012)
6. Achievement of the good status in waters (by 2015)