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Recovery of costs

The Member States must take account of the principle of recovery of the costs of water services, including environmental and resource costs, and in accordance with the polluter-pays principle. This necessitates an economic analysis of water services based on long-term forecasts of supply and demand for water in each river basin district. By 2010 they were to ensure that water-pricing policies provide adequate incentives for users to use water resources efficiently, and thereby contribute to the environmental objectives of the WFD. There shall be an adequate contribution of the different water uses, including industry, households, and agriculture, to the recovery of the costs of water services. The Member States may have regard to the social, environmental, and economic effects of the recovery as well as the geographic and climatic conditions of the region or regions affected.

Exemptions to the principle of recovery of the costs are allowed for a given water- use activity if they do not compromise the purposes and the achievement of the objectives of the WFD.36 The price policy does also not prevent funding of particular preventive or remedial measures in order to achieve those objectives. According to the Commission, few Member States have implemented a transparent recovery of environmental and resource costs. Cost recovery is particularly limited from agriculture.37

The WFD identifies two areas that require specific legal action: groundwater, which is dealt with in Article 16, and priority hazardous substances, addressed in Article 17.

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