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EUROPE : "WEST" For an overview of water–related research in Europe

Published 2008

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) has an original approach to water management, especially due to the importance given to the economic aspects, either for the analysis of water uses or for the choice of the measures needed to achieve its objectives.


The implementation of this innovative approach requires that all the stakeholders master the concepts, methods and the often complex economic notions.

Although the "WATECO" methodological guide, prepared for the Framework Directive, is an essential tool, it must be understood by all stakeholders, who have a very diverse knowledge of economics.

A popularisation and dissemination work must be carried out: this is the WEST ( W ater E conomic S T raining) project, entrusted to IOWater by the European Commission (DG Environment).

The WEST project aims to develop specific training tools that take this diversity of knowledge into account to give each stakeholder the information needed to complete its assignment (economic study, programme definition, decision-making, etc.).Three target groups were selected to ensure appropriateness between training tools and users:

• the decision-makers, who will define the orientations of water management in the districts and who will thus use the economic works as tools for decision-making support;

• the water professionals, who will prepare the operational documents (management plan in particular) and who will rely on outside experts whenever necessary. They will have a role of interface between decision-makers and experts;

• the economists, to whom will be entrusted the studies needed for the preparation of this management plan. Their knowledge of water management in general, of the WFD in particular and lastly of the significance of economics in this process will be prevailing.

The developed products are adapted to each group and case studies are widely used.

This project, launched at the end of 2002, was completed in October 2003. The European Commission will widely disseminate these tools in the coming months to allow their most widespread use and a consistent practice within the European Union.

See online : http://www.oieau.fr/west/