chapter  10
18 Pages

Tariffs for Urban Water Services in Spain: Household Size and Equity

ByFernando Arbués & Ramón Barberán

The need for appropriate water pricing is specifically noted in the Water Framework

Directive of the EuropeanUnion (Directive 2000/60/EC, 23October 2000) (EC, 2000). The

design and application of urban water pricing structures is a complex process involving

multiple factors related to equity, public health, resource conservation, recovery of costs,

and administrative costs, among others (OECD, 1987). These objectives are not only

difficult to reconcile with one another, but given their regulatory nature, they are subject to

different interpretations by the agents involved (Cosier & Shen, 2009). These discrepancies

produce undesirable results from some perspectives aswell as conflicts of interest, such as in

Spain where the equity of urban water tariffs has become the object of intense social debate.