EPIWATER - synthesis report

Many Economic Policy Instruments (EPIs) were analysed in order to assess their efficiency for sustainable water cycle achievement within EPIWATER 30 case sites applying different EPIs were studied, and the acquired knowledge was collected in a synthesis report. The selected European sites were:

  • Water transfers in the Tagus River Basin (two cases in Spain); the voluntary transfer from irrigation areas of Alberche River to the Canal de Isabel II, and from farmers in the Henares Canal to the Mancomunidad de Aguas del Sorbe.
  • Voluntary agreement for river regime restoration services in Lower Ebro (Spain), that fosters the delivery of water pulses or artificial water pulses to this basin.
  • Cooperative agreements between water supply companies and farmers in Dorset (United Kingdom), established for preventing groundwater resources from nitrates contamination.
  • Danish Pesticide Tax (Denmark), whichhas also been effective for mitigating the effect of pesticide residues in water bodies and crops.
  • Water Resource Fee (Hungary), which was established for providing resources to the Water Fund, which is used by the Hungarian water companies.
  • Water Load Fee (Hungary), which aims to reduce the amount of pollutants discharged directly to running water.
  • Agricultural water tariffs in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, based on the introduction of a volumetric pricing system as a measure for decreasing the costs for irrigating.
  • Pollution Charge Increase in the Serpis River Basin (Spain), conceived to reduce water consumption and pollution.
  • Voluntary intersectoral water transfer at Llobregat River (Spain), that fosters the use of reclaimed water by farmers.
  • Negotiation and monetary incentives to promote the use of reclaimed water in non-conventional purposes at Tordera River Basin (Spain).
  • The groundwater taxes applied in the Netherlands applies which charges on groundwater extractions.
  • The move from non-volumetric water pricing to volumetric water pricing (water metering) in England and Wales.
  • Water Abstraction Charges and Compensation Payments in Baden-Württemberg (Germany), which aims to reduce nitrates and pesticides leaking into water bodies, that is also compensating the farmers that limit these leakages.
  • A mix of economic and regulatory instruments to reduce source pollution in Germany: Discharge Permits, Effluent Tax, Discharge limits and other technological standards.
  • A broadly accepted standard of quality for green electricity labelled as “Naturemade” and applied in Switzerland.
  • Italian water tariff system and tariff structure in Emilia Romagna.
  • Green energy certificates and compliance market for promoting hydropower generation in Italy.
  • Subsidies for ecologically friendly hydro-power plants through favourable electricity remuneration in Germany.
  • The case of Evian Natural Mineral Water, a case of financial compensation for environmental services initiated in the eighties.
  • Different subsidies for Drinking Water Conservation in Cyprus, such as subsidies for construction of domestic boreholes for irrigation and flushing, subsidies for installing domestic grey water recycling systems (like in the CYPROBELL project) or subsidies promoting desalinated water.

Among case studies, 10 were commissioned to non-EU researchers belonging to the “Inspiration beyond the EU” group:

  • Australia: salinity offsets and unbundling water rights in Australia’s Southern Connected Murray Darling Basin.
  • United States: The Efficient Water Market of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District; Great Miami River Watershed Water Quality Credit Trading Program; New York City Watershed Agricultural Program; California Water Budget Rate Structure applied in Urban Utilities; Nitrogen Permit Trading in North Carolina’s Neuse River.
  • Urban Water Price Setting in Israel.
  • Current economic policies to protect water quality in China.
  • The Chilean Water Allocation Mechanism, established in its Water Code of 1981.

Source: Evaluating Economic Policy Instruments for Sustainable Water Management in Europe. Deliverable 3.1 - Review reports.