After its publication in the Official Newspaper of Galicia as Law 8/2019 of 23 December, of regulation of the ludic use of the thermal waters of Galicia, that will enter in force next February 2, the Xunta looks for to begin to give answer to a social and managerial demand that will allow to have a thermal map in which each and every one of the uses of the thermal waters will be ordered and regulated. It is a pioneering norm in Spain that will allow Galicia to have a complete normative framework around the thermal waters thanks to which an ordered and safe growth of the sector will be promoted.
The law offers new opportunities to the tourist sector, to the business network and for the dynamization of the economic activity of the councils of the interior, at the same time that this natural resource is protected, establishing a new use that will mark a clear frontier between the thermal establishments, with therapeutic uses and that are regulated by a law of the year 1995; and the spaces and thermal pools, with recreational uses, in which the new norm is centered. In this way, Galicia is responding to a business reality and to a real demand of today’s society, offering legal security and guarantees to tourist projects that, until now, did not have a specific regulation.
The objectives of the law are to ensure the health and hygiene of the recreational use of thermal waters; to guarantee the environmental sustainability of the thermal waters in order to avoid the degradation of their quality and the reduction of their flow; to protect their integrity as a natural, heritage, cultural, tourist and recreational resource; and to promote the economic and social development of the towns where these waters arise.
Among the most relevant aspects of the regulations -which establish as a prior condition that the waters must be declared as thermal waters- are
– The regulation of the cases of compatibility of the new recreational uses with the spas and their protection perimeters.
– The establishment of the procedure to obtain renewable administrative authorizations every 10 years for the persons or private entities and concessions of 30 years extendable up to 75 in the case of public entities
– Requirement of a financial guarantee, liability insurance, a four-year development plan and the restoration of the situation to its original state upon completion of the development. In addition, the conditions of accessibility, safety and sanitary hygiene of the facilities are marked; as well as an inspection and sanction regime with fines of between 300 and 90,000 euros. As for the spaces that are currently in operation, they will have a maximum period of 12 months to regularize their situation. The aim is to protect this resource and guarantee the health and safety of the facilities for users.
With this law, Galicia will have a new thermal map in which each and every one of the uses of these waters will be ordered and regulated; with guarantees for the owners; those interested in promoting new installations; the users and for the resource itself that will continue to have the maximum protection.
Galicia, with 300 mineral-medicinal water catchments, 21 spas and 3 thalassos, has a great potential in this area. Therefore, this law is a new opportunity for the tourist sector, for the business network and to dynamize the economic activity of the interior of Galicia -where a good part of this resource is located-.