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Agricultural Water Pricing in Europe

Agricultural Water Pricing in Europe

The underlying goal of the Agricultural Water Pricing Project is to draw relevant EU-level conclusions about water pricing policy and water allocation policy in the European agricultural sector and to assess the local situation regarding these policies on a European level. The findings are relevant for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive - WFD (2000/60/EC) as well as for the Communication on Water Scarcity and Droughts, for both of which water pricing in agriculture is a crucial – yet until now neglected – element. The final report and the annexes are now available for download.

Background

In Europe, agriculture has been estimated to account for around 24% of total water abstraction, although in parts of southern Europe, this figure can reach up to 80%. In many regions within e.g. southern Europe, crop irrigation has been practiced for centuries and is the basis of economic and social activity. Particularly the provision of sufficient clean water under a changing climate will become more and more important.

In order to ensure on one hand the protection of water and its related ecosystems and to guarantee on the other hand a sustainable long term development of the economy, a careful use of the water resources becomes more and more important.

The WFD (2000/60/EC) was introduced to establish a framework for the sustainable management of water resources across Europe, with the next step in implementing this directive being the set up of water pricing policies. However, recent studies illuminated that information on water pricing, particularly in agriculture, is rarely reported by Member States.

At the heart of the Communication on Water Scarcity and Droughts, which was adopted in July 2007, lies the need to put the right price on water, with the ‘user pays’ principle becoming the rule. 

Objectives

This project will:

  1. Review the general information regarding water pricing policy and water allocation policy in the European agricultural sector
  2. Select case studies from river basins to assess the local situation regarding water pricing policy and water allocation policy in agriculture  
  3. Draw relevant EU-level conclusions from case study analysis
  4. Provide support to the Commission on the preparation of the conference on water pricing in agriculture to take place in September/October 2011

Ecologic Institute’s role

Besides thematic contributions throughout the project, Ecologic Institute is responsible for organizing the above mentioned conference on water pricing and water allocation in agriculture, which will take place in September 2011 in Poland.

The final report [pdf, 2.1 MB, English] and the annexes [pdf, 5.9 MB, English] can be downloaded.


Funding
European Commission, Directorate-General Environment (DG Environment)
Partner
Arcadis Nederland, Netherlands
Partner
Fresh Thoughts (Fresh Thoughts), Austria
TYPSA, Spain
Duration
January 2011 to December 2011
Project ID
2101
Keywords
Water, Agricultural Water Pricing, Water Framework Directive, Water Scarcity, Europe