Environmental and Resource Costs under Article 9 of the Water Framework Directive

Challenges for the Implementation of the Principle of Cost Recovery for Water Services

2016. 117 S.
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Article 9 of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires Member States to take account of the principle of recovery of the costs of water services, including environmental and resource costs (ERC). Whilst Member States in practice claim discretion when applying Article 9, there is, however, an ongoing discussion of what is, in concrete terms, meant by and due for recovering full costs in European water policy. To make matters worse, in its judgement of 2014, the EU Court of Justice abstained from clarifying pestering problems of interpreting the legal requirements. What is more, this debate still lacks insights from decades of scientific discussion on water pricing in environmental economics. Therefore, the book provides a current in-depth analysis of all related questions of recovering the costs (ERC definition, concepts and instruments of cost recovery etc.), referring to both the legal as well as the economic aspects of pricing water services in line with Article 9 of the WFD.


A. Problem Statement

B. The Term »Environmental and Resource Costs«

C. The Term »Water Services«

Problem Statement and State of the Debate – Proceedings Before the European Court of Justice in 2014 – Is a Narrow Definition of »Water Services» Necessary to Limit Harm from Cost Recovery? – Interim Conclusion

D. Position of Environmental and Resource Costs in the Norm Architecture of Article 9

Definition of the Problem – Legal Interpretations of the Norm Architecture – »Efficient Use of Resources« as a Key Term – Relevant and Irrelevant Environmental and Resource Costs – Interim Conclusion

E. Environmental and Resource Costs as a Component of Cost Recovery: Which Costs Are to Be Recovered?

Principle of the Purpose Relatedness of the Costs – The Cost-related Purpose of Article 9 of the WFD – Extent of ERCs. Dependant on Both Water Status and Function of Cost Recovery – Reference to Water Status as a Recovery Concept: Achievement of Environmental Objectives According to Article 4 WFD as an Abolishment Threshold? – Interim Conclusion

F. Concepts for »Taking Account« of ERCs: How Should These Costs Be Recovered?

Interpretation Efforts in the Legal Literature: »Taking Account« as an Obligation Problem – Taking Account as a Calculation Problem – Approximation of Environmental and Resource Costs by Means of the Costs of the Measures? – Concepts for »Taking into Account« Provided by the Economic Theory of Environmental Policy – Nine Arguments Against Focusing on Calculating Environmental and Resource Costs – On the Critique of Decisionist Approaches to »Taking Account« of ERCs

G. Instruments for ERC Accounting

The Question of Instrument to Comply with Article 9 WFD – Efficient Resource Use. An Equivalent Case for Command-and-control Policies? – Interim Conclusion

H. Conclusions

List of References

Subject Index


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