The Challenges of Implementing the Water Framework Directive in Spain
This chapter presents nonpoint pollution characterized by imperfect knowledge of biophysical processes, stochastic components, and asymmetric information among agents. The design and implementation of measures to abate emissions is a difficult task because of this lack of biophysical information and the strategic behaviour of stakeholders. The development of input-intensive agriculture in Spain during the last century has created large discharges of nutrients and other harmful substances into water bodies, causing damage to aquatic ecosystems. In Spain and other European countries, the control of nonpoint pollution is a crucial step in achieving the 'good' ecological status of water bodies sought by the European Water Framework Directive (EWFD). The empirical findings challenge the current approach to pollution policies and call for policy efforts focused on nurturing stakeholder's collective action and on supporting the necessary institutional setting. Without the involvement of stakeholders in institutions, the public authorities lack legitimacy and knowledge of local conditions.