The Magnitude and Cost of Groundwater Metering and Control in Agriculture
De Meo, Emilio
Gennaro, Bernardo C. de
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Volumetric pricing as envisaged within the Water Framework Directive (60/2000) is a considerable challenge in terms of irrigation in Mediterranean regions, since a large share of the water source is groundwater. Enforcing this pricing scheme involves systematic metering and control (M&C) systems with subsequent high costs. This paper aims to fill the gap in the literature related to the assessment of costs for the metering and control of irrigation groundwater. The full operational cost of all activities related to the hypothetical services provided by a public agency is assessed for Apulia (a region in southern Italy). The results show that point-to-point metering services are quite costly, ranging from 38.5 to 59 euros per delivery point. New questions arise regarding whether the M&C of groundwater abstraction should be fully charged to end users (i.e., farmers), or also shared with the whole society as a public service aimed at environmental enhancement.