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The 2000 Water Frame Directive (WFD) has led to changes in the governance of drinking water quality in France. These changes are based on an intensified implementation of mechanisms to create interdependence among stakeholders, making them collectively responsible for fulfilling EU objectives. By observing the implementation of both old and new regulatory devices for drinking water protection, we can gain a good indication of whether or not any tangible changes to territorial management are taking place. From a qualitative point of view, we can see that there is a long history of palliative management of sanitary risks – i.e. treating the symptoms of agricultural pollution rather than the causes. However, new methods of territorial governance are also starting to come to light. This is as a result of the involvement of new bodies in the implementation of agri-environmental devices, such as local authorities and market stakeholders.


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