(Article of periodic en Anglais - 2012)

Document title

The Political Geography of Environmental Regulation: Implementing the Water Framework Directive in the Douro River Basin, Portugal

Authors(s) and Affiliation(s)

Ioris Antonio Augusto Rossotto (1) ;
(1) School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen


The article discusses the challenges and prospects of implementing the Water Framework Directive (WFD), one of the most comprehensive pieces of environmental legislationpassed by the European Union (EU). The translation of the WFD into policy-making is analysed through a case study – which combined interviews, participant observation and the attendance of public events – in the Portuguese section of the Douro River Basin. The evolution of water regulation is initially considered according to a suggested classification into five phases of water management. The examination then addresses the main aspects of the WFD experience in the Douro, exploring elements of innovation and continuity. Higher concern for environmental conservation and the detailed assessment of water management problems are significant improvements that followed the introduction of the WFD. However, the same institutional reforms have also served to consolidate techno-bureaucratic approaches centred on the economic values of water. As a result, the rationality and failures of the new water regulation prompted unexpected opposition from various stakeholder groups, such as farmers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and urban water customers. The success of the WFD is directly dependent on the ability to perceive the politicised complexity of water management and on effective mechanisms of dialogue and social inclusion.


Article of periodic

published at : Scottish geographical journal / ISSN 1751-665X

Editor : Taylor & Francis, Abingdon - ROYAUME-UNI (1999)

Millesime : 2012, vol. 128, no1 [pp. 1-23]
Published in 20120301



Digital Object Identifier

Go to electronic document thanks to its DOI : 10.1080/14702541.2012.676667

2012, Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLCTous droits réservés © Prodig - Bibliographie Géographique Internationale (BGI), 2012
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