Is the Pricing of Urban Water Services Justiﬁably Perceived as Unequal among Spanish Cities?
Water is a merit good and a necessary one for life, which has important implications for
economic, social and environmental policy (OECD, 2003). In the European Union, urban
water supply is considered a service of general interest (EU, 2001). General interest
services differ from ordinary services in that public authorities consider that they must be
provided even if the private market does not have sufﬁcient incentives to do so. The
European Community itself is committed to using the instruments at its disposal to ensure
that services best meet the needs of users and the general public (EU, 2001, 2007).
Regarding the price of these services, the objective should include transparency of tariffs
and affordable pricing schemes for the service to be accessible to all (EU, 2003, 2004).
This aspect is particularly relevant in the lowest levels of consumption, associated with
water amounts that are necessary to sustain life.