The Water Framework Dire
ctive 60/2000/EC required member states to conduct an economic analysis of their water use as well as to implement important economic principles such as the recuperation of water service related costs and the polluter pays principle. On a broader scale, member states are required to sustainably and efficiently manage and protect water use. Achieving an economically conscientious regime for water management, allocation and use goes beyond basic economic principles -- it requires comprehensive and integrated management, an administrative regime which brings the right stakeholders to the table and demands accountability, and legal language that makes "sustainable" and "efficient" tangible concepts.
My current research, and hence my presentation, focuses on the implementation and achievement of these principles in Spain and its provinces. What follows is a list of questions and themes on which my research is focused and on which I will be prepared to speak.
1. How does (or doesn't) the manner in which the Water Framework Directive has been implemented in Spain foster the recuperation of costs, and the achievement of sustainable and efficient water use in Spain? My research examines the language used in the Law of Water at the State level, and the language in the watershed management plans to achieve the sustainable and efficient use of water, as well as to recuperate water service related costs. When money is collected (for instance from polluters who are paying fines), is that money collected and earmarked for water-related management and protection initiatives?
2. When performing the economic analyses required by the Directive, what factors were considered? Were there any factors or inter-relationships not considered?
3. What are the prerequisites for receiving tax benefits or subsidies from the European Union, Spanish government or provinces for infrastructure development, agriculture and projects that affect the management or use of water resources? Does the provision of economic-assistance (or benefits) require sustainable and efficient water use?
4. How are "sustainable" and "efficient" defined in the law at the State, provincial and municipal levels?
5. Is there a "minimum" for the recuperation of costs related to water services? How are "environmental costs" recuperated? Who should pay, and in what way should these costs be recuperated?
6. Does the administrative regime (and the distribution of responsibilities between the State, provinces, watershed agencies provide the best structure for sustainably, efficiently and comprehensively implementing the Directive? What (required) actors are involved in the implementation of the law? What are their competencies and are their roles clearly defined? Are there better solutions (perhaps implemented by other Member States)? If the agencies responsible for implementing the laws or developing the laws via additional regulations fail to act, what can the State do? Are there economic repercussions?
7. Does the administrative regime (and the Spanish implementing laws) guarantee the coordinated and comprehensive implementation of EU Directives (and related Spanish laws) associated with the management, use and protection of water resources? For instance, is there a link between the coasts and the achievement of the Water Framework Directive? Specifically, how does (or how can) the law ensure a comprehensive implementation of Spain's Law of Coasts and Law of Water?