Economic Instruments for Water Management
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Economic Instruments for Water Management

The Cases of France, Mexico and Brazil

Ronaldo Seroa da Motta, Alban Thomas, Lillian Saade Hazin, Jose Gustavo Feres, Céline Nauges and Antonio Saade Hazin

This book argues that the economic appeal of using water charges to promote efficiency in usage and pollution control can be constrained by institutional and operational problems. Analysing the cases of France, Mexico and Brazil, the authors – respective local experts – illustrate that barriers are similar despite the existing differences among these economies.
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Chapter 3: Country Case: France

Alban Thomas, Jose Gustavo Feres and Celine Nauges


1 Alban Thomas, José Gustavo Feres and Céline Nauges 3.1 POLICY ANALYSIS PHASE One can view the development of an integrated and decentralized water management system in France as a response to the conflicts related to water quality degradation and the growing demand for water resources by different categories of users. The reconstruction period following the Second World War was characterized by the acceleration of industrial development and urban growth. Environmental impacts generated by both processes were soon observed, since the regeneration capacity of water bodies was not sufficient to offset the negative effects of urban and industrial effluent emissions. As a result the water quality gradually deteriorated over the post-war period. On the other hand, the period was also marked by increasing demands from different water users, as industrial development and urban growth proceeded. With the expansion of irrigated surface in rural areas, the same trend was observed in agricultural water demand. Moreover the acceleration of the French nuclear programme also contributed to the increase in water needs, in this case for cooling use. In such a context, the need for a water management approach capable of reconciling the resource capacity (both in qualitative and quantitative terms) with demands for multiple uses became clear. The legal framework was composed of measures that only acted in response to specific cases, treating user categories separately. The same differentiated approach was applied to quantity and quality aspects in water regulation. These measures established an environmental policy based on command-and-control mechanisms, some...

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