The Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning, Andrej Vizjak, stated in 24ur Zvečer that the signatories had been misled, as this was not a referendum on drinking water, but the collection of signatures against drinking water. According to him, the law, which is the subject of this initiative, additionally protects the coastal strip of construction, especially of private investors. Under the new law, they would no longer be able to build private houses there, and apparently politicians, especially the left, have assessed that they cannot fulfil their ambitions to exploit the strip, the Minister added in the show.
“We are protecting drinking water, we are protecting the coastal strip, I really do not understand why the law is interpreted as such,” said the Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning Andrej Vizjak in last night’s show 24ur Zvečer. The amendment to the law will additionally protect the coastal strip, as it is currently possible to build all facilities there – but now only regulation in public use will be possible. Vizjak is also of the opinion that the whole matter is politicised. “When the NGOs found that they did not have enough signatures, they activated the left parties. We have evidence that the Social Democrats in the Presidency have decided and sent a dispatch to all their members to get active and to help collect signatures. It is about a connection of some civil society with the policy of the left, to which further construction of the coastal strip obviously suits,” Vizjak warned.
The president of the Eco Circle association, Uroš Macerl, is of the opinion that the Minister is misleading the public. “The Minister would like to convince us that all environmental organisations, all the professions that work with water, have been misled, and thousands of people who cast their votes have also been misled. Only Vizjak and Počivalšek are right. This will not convince the citizens,” he said. He also said that the matter did not seem politicised to him because NGOs had been saying the same thing since day one. However, he believed that the coming period is bringing problems with it, he believes, as it will try to divide people into two poles. “But people will not give up, because it is about water that is ours, and not from politicians,” Macerl stressed. He also noted that the new law in nature allows simple facilities and facilities for public use, such as shops, hotels, and shopping malls, which means that there will be thousands of constructions in the coastal area. However, the Minister objected to him, as the Water Act does not regulate interventions in space, it only regulates water consents. “You cannot build facilities in nature under the Water Act. Impossible, it is just misleading,” he was clear. From now on, simple facilities will also require water consent, which has not been the case so far. The Ministry is now significantly tightening the conditions for construction on the coastal strip, and the law is intended to protect drinking water. Vizjak also accused Macerl of not reading the law. “According to this law, we allocate more money for the maintenance of watercourses and flood safety, we prevent the construction of factories that use hazardous substances, private facilities, villas. And they accuse us of the exact opposite,” he explained.
With the amended legislation, the government will provide more funds for flood protection on the banks of rivers and regulate the financing of the Water Institute. While Article 69 of the law has been withdrawn, Article 37 of the law, which will enable the construction of simple facilities in exceptional cases, is still controversial to nature conservationists. As Vizjak explained, the previous law allowed the construction of various facilities, such as factories, houses and villas, and with the new legislation they want to prevent such constructions. Uroš Macerl from the Drinking Water Initiative denies the allegations, despite the fact that the reality and data testify otherwise. The majority of MPs supported this amendment to the law, as did the National Council. “For the simple reason that it brings good things for Slovenian waters as well as for people who like to live in Slovenia by the water and with water. Water is, of course, a great asset. Slovenia is very rich in water,” Vizjak explained some time ago.