Federica Rainaldi Riccardo Scintu

New Paradigms and Old Practices. Water Policy Change in Italy and England

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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.


  • Water policy
  • Full cost recovery
  • Policy change
  • Policy paradigms
  • Market environmentalism


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