Following the development of the federal government's policies on industrial and economic development, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources published a decree in the Federal Official Gazette on March 23 2018 granting administrative benefits for the issuance of new concession titles for exploiting national waters to persons that hold a title which expired after January 1 2004.

The decree allows such persons to regain their concession titles, provided that they:

  • remain the proprietor or tenant of the property for which the expired concession title was issued;
  • have not transmitted the ownership or tenancy of such property or the concession title itself; and
  • have been exploiting national waters in accordance with the volume permitted under the expired concession title.

The decree also extends the benefit to titleholders that have a valid concession which is close to expiry, but did not make a timely renewal request for the concession title (under the National Waters Law, renewal requests for concession titles must be filed with the National Water Commission (CONAGUA) at least six months before the concession title's expiry).

Once the CONAGUA has analysed the information submitted by the titleholder, it will issue a new concession title with the same characteristics as the previous one, including the same granted water extraction volume. In calculating the volume, it will take into account any volume reductions – whether voluntary or imposed by the CONAGUA – which affected the concession title and were properly registered on the Public Water Rights Registry.

Notably, the decree allows for the issuance of new concession titles even if the zone or specific aquifer from which the original concession title was authorised to extract water is now considered a restricted or banned zone or aquifer. This means that the only way to secure a national waters extraction concession title for restricted zones or aquifers is through the decree, which implies that an existing but expired concession title is also needed.

The decree is particularly significant given that the CONAGUA's existing policy on water conservation and protection is – in general terms – not to issue new water exploitation concession titles, regardless of the aquifer for which the concession title is intended to be requested.

The administrative benefits granted by the decree came into effect on March 24 2017 and will remain valid until December 31 2018.

For further information on this topic please contact Brenda A Rogel Salgado, Jeanett Trad Nacif, Mario Jorge Yanez or Javier Camacho at Hogan Lovells BSTL, SC by telephone (+52 55 5091 0000) or email (brenda.rogel@hoganlovells.com, jeanett.trad@hoganlovells.com, jorge.yanez@hoganlovells.com or javier.camacho@hoganlovells.com). The Hogan Lovells BSTL, SC website can be accessed at www.hoganlovells.com.

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