Urban Water Tariffs in Spain: What Needs to Be Done?
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Water pricingUrban water servicesCost recoveryEfficiency and sustainabilityAffordabilityFairness and equitySpain
García Rubio, M.A.; Ruiz-Villaverde, A.; González-Gómez, F. Urban Water Tariffs in Spain: What Needs to Be Done?. Water, 7(4): 1456-1479 (2015). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/36533]
SponsorshipThe authors also gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the following Spanish institutions: the Consejería de Economía, Innovación, Ciencia y Empleo from the Government of Andalusia (P11-SEJ-7039), the Spanish Ministry of Economics and Competitiveness of Spain (Project ECO2012‐32189), and the CEI BioTIC program from Universidad de Granada (mP_CP_3). Finally, the authors acknowledge the assistance granted under the Programa de Fortalecimiento de las Capacidades de I + D + i, jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Junta de Andalucía (The Regional Government).
Recently, in the context of the Integrated Water Resources Management, demand policies are playing a more important role as opposed to traditional supply policies based on the construction of large hydraulic infrastructures. In this new context, water tariffs have become an important tool in achieving economic efficiency, environmental sustainability, and social equity. This paper reviews the situation of urban water tariffs in Spain, a country subject to high water stress. It analyzes the capacity of urban water tariffs to recover service costs and to promote efficiency, sustainability, affordability, and equity. Although it has made significant progress in recent years, the Spanish urban water tariff system still faces many challenges. Many of these challenges would be better addressed by a national independent regulatory body.