Cost-effective and coherent management models for drinking water protection
|Main authors:||Berit Hasler, Ingrid Nesheim, Morten Graversgaard, Susanne Klages, Doan Nainggolan, Claudia Heidecke, Luke Farrow, Isobel Wright, Gerard Velthof, Sandra Boekhold|
|Source document:||»Hasler, B. et al. (2021) Identification of cost-effective and coherent management models for drinking water protection in agriculture. FAIRWAY Project Deliverable 6.4R 55 pp|
In this section of FAIRWAYiS we identify cost-efficient management models of water regulation, focusing on pesticide and nitrogen abatement measures used for drinking water protection of both surface and groundwater.
Together with the research on »Coherence in EU law and policy for the protection of drinking water resources, »Governance arrangements in case studies and »Effectiveness of EU legislation in the context of local realities, with »Management practices that reduce nitrate transport and also with »Management practices that reduce pesticide transport, we form the foundation for the FAIRWAY assessment on legitimate governance arrangements to prevent diffuse pollution of European fresh water due to agriculture presented in »Coherent, legitimate and sustainable governance approaches to prevent diffuse pollution of drinking water.
The criteria used as a framework for the assessment of best management practices are: pollution control effectiveness; cost-effectiveness; coherence and conflicts between measures and between nutrient and pesticide policies implementation; and incentives for farmers’ compliance with the regulation.
»Background, definitions and delimitations
An overview of applied measures in pesticide and nitrogen abatement policies is presented, followed by experiences from literature on cost-effectiveness as well as barriers and potentials for implementation. This overview and presentation indicate that the ranking of measures according to costs and effects, as well as cost-effectiveness, depends on the method applied.
»Overview and assessment of measures and instruments
We make an in-depth analysis of catch crops as an example of a measure that has been and is implemented in many EU countries for nitrogen abatement. Catch crops are analysed as a cost-effective means of water protection management and policy and are used in many European countries for both groundwater and surface water protection. Cost-effective nitrogen abatement for water quality protection requires implementation at low costs and with high pollution control effect. To achieve these aims, it is important to identify barriers that can hinder implementation and increase the costs, and vice versa to retrieve information on potentials for good practices. Farmer compliance is important and different incentives are used in European agricultural and water protection policies to implement catch crops as a measure.
»Detailed analysis of catch crops
We make an assessment of policy instruments used in the European countries for the implementation of catch crops, and draw the conclusion that command and control /legal instruments and subsidies are favoured for both pesticide and nitrogen management, but have the drawback that they are not flexible and can be hard to target. An exception to this is mandatory restrictions in groundwater drilling zones which work well but compensation can be hard to negotiate. The economic instruments, often used as part of the CAP pillar I and II, are under revision and have been so several times. This is necessary because uniform payments and greening have shown to be ineffective in delivering environmental benefits.
»Policy instruments used for implementation of catch crops in Europe
An important aim of this analysis in this section of FAIRWAYiS is therefore to identify barriers, potentials and positive incentives for cost-effective implementation and management of catch crops as a water quality protection measure. It is also important to identify potential coherence or conflicts between policies that affect water quality, e.g. nutrient and pesticide policies, which are relevant. Catch crops can increase nitrogen utilisation and reduce losses, but also increase pesticide application.
»Discussion and conclusions