Water Resources Management

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 675–699 | Cite as

Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA): an Ex-Post Analysis of Water Services by the Legal Review in Portugal

  • Bruno Eustaquio de Carvalho
  • Rui Cunha Marques
  • Oscar Cordeiro Netto


This paper adopts an ex-post regulatory impact assessment (RIA) to analyze the effects of Law no.194/2009 on public-private partnerships (PPP) in the water sector in Portugal. Although the water services have been improving concerning coverage and safety since 1990, any change in regulation can have both “positive and negative” consequences either for customers, providers or local governments. This context can provide the opportunity to observe a national experiment of regulatory reform and assess its outcomes based on the following multiple targets: (i) customer protection; (ii) governance; (iii) financial, infrastructure and operational sustainability; and (iv) environmental improvement. To evaluate the impact of this legal reform, three steps were considered: (i) the status quo, scenarios and perspective; (ii) assessment; and (iii) consultation. Additionally, two aid methods were used: (i) expert opinions (Delphi) and (ii) multicriteria decision modelling method (TOPSIS) based on similarity distance to ideal solution. In fact, Law no.194/2009 reduced the gap in terms of performance between the concessions, but amplified the contrasts when all perspectives are compared. Regarding policy objectives, the major gap to overcome in a possible review of this legal framework is linked to the “economic-financial, operational and infrastructural sustainability objective”. Failures in any of these aspects can result in an ongoing PPP not meeting customer, municipality and concessionaire’s expectations.


Legal review Multicriteria decision analysis Portugal Regulatory impact assessment Water sector 



Integral Euclidean distance


Interquartile Range


Multi-attribute utility theory


Multicriteria decision analysis


Negative ideal solution


Positive ideal solution


Public-private partnership


Portuguese water sector


Regulatory impact assessment


Technique for order preference by similarity to ideal solution


Water and wastewater utilities


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruno Eustaquio de Carvalho
    • 1
  • Rui Cunha Marques
    • 1
  • Oscar Cordeiro Netto
    • 2
  1. 1.CERIS-IST, University of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.FT, University of BrasíliaBrasíliaBrazil

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