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Source: Swiss Canton Zug – news in German

In a leading ruling, the Federal Supreme Court decided that marital water rights should be replaced by hydropower plants at the next opportunity. An expert opinion is now available that sheds light on the open implementation issues.

With the Hammer decision (BGE 145 I 138), the Federal Supreme Court required the cantons to redeem marital water rights “at the first opportunity”. Marital water rights come from an earlier legal system. Until now, hydropower plants that have marital water rights did not have to fully meet certain environmental requirements. They were particularly privileged with the remaining water volumes.

In the canton of Zug – as of today – twelve small and micro hydropower plants have marital water rights. With the Hammer judgment, the Federal Supreme Court changed direction in this regard. Many enforcement questions are therefore still open. In the canton of Zug, the building department and the interior department are responsible for enforcing the federal court ruling. The building management team therefore worked with the interior directorate to determine the open questions and commissioned Andreas Abegg, professor at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and adjunct professor at the University of Lucerne, to clarify the questions. The report is co-financed by the cantons of Bern, St. Gallen and Thurgau.

The report is now available and ensures clarity and legal certainty in the replacement of marital water rights. According to the result of the report, for example, marital water rights must be redeemed within ten years at the latest, but earlier if there is an opportunity to do so, for example with a building permit. With the replacement of the marital water law, the environmental regulations will be applicable comprehensively and equally for all hydropower plants. Next, the building management and the interior management of the canton of Zug will seek a discussion with the power plant owners in order to present the report and determine the further procedure for the individual hydropower plants with marital water rights. At the same time, the environmental protection organizations are also informed about the next steps. The report is available on the website of the building management.

Further informationExpert opinion on the implementation of Federal Supreme Court decision 145 II 140 (Hammer).

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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