Territorialized agri-environmental measures (MAEt) were introduced in France for the 2007-2013 Common Agricultural Policy program, in order to improve the cost-effectiveness of agri-environmental policies. This paper assesses qualitatively the innovations of MAEt with special attention paid to water pollution issues. We analyze the advantages and limits of the partial decentralization of decision-making in the setting-up of agri-environmental projects; of improved targeting through the identification of eligible priority areas; and of greater flexibility introduced in the design of agri-environmental contracts. This analysis is illustrated by the results of a survey conducted with farmers in a French sub-region, Eure-et-Loir. This survey helps us to identify the reasons why farmers choose to sign agri-environmental contracts or not. The article concludes with a set of recommendations to improve the French agri-environmental system in the perspective of the 2013 CAP reform.