This study investigates the relationship between water quality and income within the EU. It examines twenty EU countries across 17 years, 1998 to 2014. Spatial econometrics are used to account for spillovers between countries. Furthermore, the authors account for the role of human and livestock population size, institutional quality and economic openness for water quality.

Results show an inverted relationship between income and water quality. Eight out of twenty countries have income levels associated with deteriorating water quality. Ultimately, improved governance and economic openness positively affect water quality.