This paper examines the issue of disproportionate costs of Water Framework Directive (WFD) implementation using public surveys as a means to inform policy and decision making. Public taxpayers are asked their opinion regarding the implementation of the WFD and its costs. Taxpayers are expected to bear a large share of the cost of WFD implementation, be it through national taxation, local water pollution charges or higher market prices for water related goods and services. The paper's main objective is to illustrate the role of stated preference research to elicit public opinions and perceptions towards socially acceptable levels of water quality and public willingness to pay (WTP) for the expected environmental benefits of the WFD. Stated preference research can be used as a way to assess the concept of disproportionate costs to those who are expected to bear a large share of the costs of WFD implementation, and at the same time address the issue of public participation in the WFD. The survey results are used as a public consultation tool to inform policy and decision makers about public willingness and ability to pay for the implementation of the WFD. This measure can be used as one of the benchmarks to define disproportionate costs in a cost-benefit context.