Keywords: Water policy; Full cost recovery; Policy change; Policy paradigms; Market environmentalism.
The Water Framework Directive (2000/60/CE) institutionalises the Integrated Water Resources Management approach in Europe. It puts an end to almost two centuries of fragmented water policy-making, introducing a comprehensive policy framework based on overarching water quality objectives, vertically integrated water management and the principle of full cost recovery. Therefore, the WFD demands a policy change that affects both policy instruments and policy objectives. The article focuses on the changes related to the full cost recovery of water services, as a key element of the new integrated approach. Through the comparative analysis of the Italian and UK cases, we aim to show how the application of a same concept is strongly influenced by the dominant policy paradigm in the national context.