According to the European Water Framework Directive (WFD), cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) should be used for measuring the cost and the environmental effectiveness of a measure in water quality management. The purpose of this paper is to argue that, beyond the calculation of the cost efficiency of the measures, additional information related to the cost and the environmental characteristics is required. Such information provides important data for the decision makers to assess the feasibility of measures and renders the application of CEA more reliable. Moreover, considering that the WFD requires the encouragement of the active involvement of the stakeholders in the planning processes, a practical algorithm could be used for a user-friendly presentation and discussion of CEA results. Furthermore, if the evaluated measures are independent of each other, a simple model of integer programming solved by a simple software program is proposed as an alternative mathematical tool for evaluating a combined set of measures which meet a predetermined environmental objective at the lowest cost.
Keywords: Cost-effectiveness analysis, European Water Framework Directive, Stakeholders, Watershed management