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Source :  Drinking water (Free Photobank ) / CC BY 4.0

Free water for Bar and Restaurant customers has been Law since 1998

By Maria Nilsa Menezes


District Law No. 1954, published on June 8, 1998, whose project was the then deputy Manoel Andrade, requires hotels, bars, restaurants, cafes, snack bars and similar to provide customers with drinking water, free of charge, as stated in the articles of the aforementioned Law , and its following paragraphs:


  • Article 1,  §2 The establishments referred to in this Law are also required to keep containers with drinking water on the tables, for consumption by customers at the time of meals.


  • Art. 2. Failure to comply with the provisions of this Law will subject the violators to the penalties provided for in Law No. 8.078, of September 11, 1990 (Consumer Defense Code).



The Law completed 17 years and what is verified is the lack of knowledge on the part of consumers and, consequently, non-compliance by commercial establishments, which certainly have no interest in advertising and compliance with the legal provisions.


Unlike Law 2424/1995 of the State of Rio de Janeiro, which also obliges the same establishments to grant customers filtered water, but the word “free of charge” is absent, leaving doubts in the interpretation. The Federal District Law is clear and leaves no room for other types of understanding.



There are those who discuss whether a state law would not have the publicity of a federal law and suspect, due to ignorance, the competence of the states and the Federal District, therefore, the effectiveness of the state or district law, but according to direct reading of article 24 of the Federal Constitution :


      " - It is incumbent upon the Union, States and the Federal District to correctly legislate on:


              V- production and consumption. "


As there is no federal law that deals with this specific issue, and if it did, there is no conflict between them, the law is considered to have force for anyone who wants to enforce this right, which is revealed in this case.


This is nothing new in restaurants in cities in Europe, the United States and Japan. In these places, water is served abundantly and free of charge.


In Brazil, Rio de Janeiro was the forerunner followed by Brasília, and in São Paulo a Bill is being processed. But in both Rio de Janeiro and Brasília, the respective local laws are forgotten.


The application of this Law raises doubts about the quality of the water offered, how to trust if the water is filtered and of good quality for consumption. In this case, we must, in addition to demanding our established rights, request, as the case may be, inspection by the sanitary agencies in these establishments.


Supported by this Federal District Law, which expands the consumer's right, it must be complied with and, in the event of a supplier's refusal, demand compensation for moral damages.


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