Journal of Cleaner Production vol:15 issue:16 pages:1499-1506
The EU Water Framework Directive requires Member States to organise the management of their water systems in an integrated manner, based on the natural boundaries of the water systems; the river basins. A river basin approach implies the integration of policymaking and management throughout a set of different functional uses and spatial scales. Another innovation of the Directive is the introduction of recovery of costs for water services, taking account of the polluter-pays principle. By 2010, water-pricing polices will have to provide adequate incentives for users to use water resources efficiently, and thereby contribute to the environmental objectives of the Directive. Other principles, such as the precautionary principle, are becoming increasingly important in the management of water resources as well. The translation of those principles into policy in the several Member States may however diverge. We present an overview of policy principles that play a role as basic assumptions in water management. Environmental policy principles have gradually been introduced in European legislation. From being part of a declaration of the Council, they have evolved to a basis for action in the environmental field and currently they also find wide application in the context of water management. While focusing on the EU Water Framework Directive, we investigate whether and how these principles can be reconciled with a framework for integrated water management.