26 October 2018
Professor Andrea Guerrini, President of WAREG, attended a European Seminar in Cremona, Italy which addresses some of the most urgent issues in the water industry today:
The seminar on ‘The new Drinking Water Directive and beyond’ was organized by Aqua Publica Europea in Cremona. The WAREG President introduced a panel on ‘Possible response to technical and economic challenges stemming from EU water legislation’. The WAREG President debated on a panel with key European experts from the water and wastewater sector. These experts included, Veronica Manfredi, Director in the General Directorate for Environment of the European Commission and Thomas van Gilst from the European Investment Bank
Prof. Andrea Guerrini highlighted the importance of cooperation amongst regulators in Europe and the need to consolidate WAREG’s dialogue with the EU Commission, especially now that there is public debate on the fitness check of the EU Water Framework Directive, whose article 9 clearly addresses the principles of ‘full cost recovery’ and ‘polluter pays’.
Prof. Guerrini discussed the role of economic regulation in the European water industry. The panel debated that although there is a diversity of governance frameworks in Europe, it is important to make clear what kind of costs can be recovered in tariffs in order to increase transparency and gain consumers’ confidence.
There is also further clarity required on wastewater reuse in order to understand who bears the costs of treatment plants. Information on water prices and water consumption should be accurate, transparent and accountable based on reliable data and pre-defined reporting schemes. “When it comes to investment - prof. Guerrini said - operators should take into account consumers’ willingness to pay more for their tap water. In fact the planning of investment by operators should also be based on a contingency analysis of consumers intention to pay higher water prices in exchange for better drinking water and more efficient services”.
Prof. Guerrini introduced the main points of the WAREG’s position on the new Drinking Water Directive, stressing that it is an important step forward in increasing the quality of tap water and promoting universal access to water, while remarking that more attention should be paid to transparency of prices, consumer’s confidence and impacts on water and wastewater investments by operators. He stressed that in Europe there are excellent examples of economic regulation, that are strongly beneficial for the efficiency of operators and investment levels