In series:OECD Studies on Waterview more titles
Published on March 22, 2017
After decades of regulation and investment to reduce point source water pollution, OECD countries still face water quality challenges (e.g. eutrophication) from diffuse agricultural and urban sources of pollution, that is disperse pollution from surface runoff, soil filtration and atmospheric deposition. The relative lack of progress reflects the complexities of controlling multiple pollutants from multiple sources, their high spatial and temporal variability, associated transactions costs, and limited political acceptability of regulatory measures. This report outlines the water quality challenges facing OECD countries today, presents a range of policy instruments and innovative case studies of diffuse pollution control, and concludes with an integrated policy framework to tackle diffuse water pollution. An optimal approach will likely entail a mix of policy interventions reflecting the basic OECD principles of water quality management – pollution prevention, treatment at source, the polluter pays and beneficiary pays principles, equity, and policy coherence.
|Foreword and Acknowledgements|
|The Water Quality Challenge|
|An overview of the main water pollutants in OECD countries|
|Economic costs and policy approaches to control diffuse source water pollution|
|Emerging policy instruments for the control of diffuse source water pollution|
|A policy framework for diffuse source water pollution management|
“OECD countries have struggled to adequately address diffuse water pollution. It is much easier to regulate large, point source industrial and municipal polluters than engage with a large number of farmers and other land-users where variable factors like climate, soil and politics come into play. But the cumulative effects of diffuse water pollution can be devastating for human well-being and ecosystem health. Ultimately, they can undermine sustainable economic growth. Many countries are trying innovative policy responses with some measure of success. However, these approaches need to be replicated, adapted and massively scaled-up if they are to have an effect.”
Simon Upton – OECD Environment Director
COUNTRY case studies
Full case studies submitted by member countries and international organisations for this project are presented below. Selected case studies have been included in this report. Several more of the case studies will inform the forthcoming OECD work on contaminants of emerging concern in surface water.
|England||Korea||New Zealand||United States|
|Ireland||Israel||The Netherlands||OECD countries||Baltic region|
|France|| United Kingdom||United States|
|England|| Hungary||New Zealand|
|Israel|| New Zealand|||
Note: Map includes the effects of nutrient and pesticide loading, mercury deposition, salinisation, acidification, and sediment and organic loading.
Source: Sadoff et al. (2015); based on data from Vörösmarty et al. (2010).
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