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 6: Conclusions

Ronaldo Seroa da Motta


1 Ronaldo Seroa da Motta 6.1 MAIN FINDINGS Next we will discuss the most important issues that carry similarities among the three analysed cases, and the differences in each case, to offer useful insights for improving water management. This analysis is undertaken by phases in which issues related to policy orientation, instrument design and implementation are treated separately. 6.1.1 Policy Phase Water charges have been introduced within a policy framework The introduction of water charges (WCs) has occurred within a new policy context. Therefore charges have been considered as instruments to achieve policy goals rather than goals themselves. All three analysed countries were dealing with water policy back in the early nineteenth century. However, increasing water scarcity and environmental problems due to rapid industrialization, urbanization and irrigation have forced policy changes in water resource management. In all three cases, water charges are introduced as instruments for this new water policy approach. This new approach, however, was primarily concerned with the need to plan and decentralize water management in order to accommodate multiple conflicting uses and excesses over assimilative and support capacities of the country’s water systems. The reference experience is undoubtedly the French case, where the 1964 Water Act resulted in new legal and institutional frameworks for water management. The apparent success of this experience was fully absorbed in the Mexican and Brazilian cases. However, the Mexican pattern has been slightly different. Although it is currently closer to the French approach, use charges were in place from the 1980s without...

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