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  • VIEWPOINT OF A PARTNER

    -Marc Abadie \ Adour-Garonne water agency
    "In the Adour-Garonne basin, implementation of the river-basin management plan (RMBP) represents a budget of 4.1 billion euros over six years..."

Use of cost-effectiveness analysis in implementing the WFD

Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) is a new and relatively unknown approach in setting up operational water polices and constitutes a challenge for many EU Member States in formulating the programmes of measures. Onema commissioned a study on the situation in Europe.

In order to reach good water status, the water framework directive requires that the EU Member States draw up programmes of measures. Selection of the measures offering the best result for the least cost should be based on CEA techniques. How is CEA used by the Member States? To answer that question, 48 studies on CEA in 22 European countries were analysed.

Use of CEA in Europe is fairly diversified and far from systematic, with clear differences between the north-western and south-eastern parts of the continent. Approximately two-thirds of the studies dealt with identifying the most cost-effective measures to reduce the impact of the agricultural sector. The quality of water and particularly surface water is by far the most studied topic, ahead of hydromorphology and quantitative management.

Despite the immense amount of work in this field, CEA is not a significant factor in decision-making processes. Only one-third of the studies analysed were used for management plans. Differences in use would appear to be strongly correlated with governance habits and the "political culture" of countries which encourage or discourage the use of economic tools, and to depend on the availability of human resources, of data and of funds. Generally speaking, progress can certainly be made in integrating CEA in decision-making processes on the local or river-basin levels by creating databases on the costs of measures and their effectiveness, by integrating the various levels on which work is carried out, from rivers up to river basins, and by setting up an iterative planning process for each selection phase of measures, involving technical experts and local stakeholders, in order to facilitate discussion, political acceptance of the recommended measures and the necessary commitments for funding.


What are the environmental benefits of groundwater?

How can the environmental benefits resulting from the good status of groundwater be evaluated? Focusing on the operation of aquifers, a typology of benefits was drawn up, divided up according to categories of groundwater. Benefits were evaluated in two manners. First via costs to assess the benefits provided by groundwater in terms of direct uses (supply of drinking water, irrigation, etc.) and indirect uses (connections with surface waters and wetlands). Secondly, via the estimated value contributed by groundwater in terms of its potential use and long-term availability. This method is currently being tested in the Adour-Garonne district, with the participation of the Adour-Garonne water agency, BRGM, departmental and regional councils, State services (DREAL, DTTM, ARS) and water boards.