Pricing and non-pricing measures for managing water demand in Europe (EEA)

In the face of challenges like drought and growing demand in many European Union countries, it will be important to achieve a balanced mix of pricing and non-pricing measures to ensure efficient household water use. This report commissioned by the European Environment Agency (EEA) analyzes existing pricing and non-pricing measures for managing water demand in eight European countries. It finds that all monitored countries have mechanisms in place to provide an incentive for a more efficient water use in the domestic sector. But the evidence on the real incentives created by existing pricing (tariffs) for more efficient water use is scarce, if available at all. In some countries (Germany, Denmark, Spain and France) price does not appear to be a significant determinant of water demand. The report concludes that while water pricing will continue to be an important instrument to signal water scarcity and water costs, it should be complemented with non-price policies, such as education or awareness campaigns. The report is available to download on the Eionet website.