Publications / Research Papers
The economic policy concept assisting sustainable water management and the execution of river basin management plansscholarly articlesPublished: 14 of August, 2017

While the economic policy concept of the second river basin management plan (RBMP2) for 2015-2021 complies with the requirements of the WFD and the so called ex ante conditions, it also portrays the economic policy instruments that have been designed to tackle domestic water management problems as an interrelated, coherent, mutually reinforcing system. The goal of the current article is to highlight this overarching perspective. In addition to implementing the short term ex ante conditions by 2016, the concept also makes a number of recommendations for implementation until 2018 within the RBMP2, or beyond. The recommendations are in line with the targets of the Kvassay Jenő Plan / National Water Strategy. Based on the problem assessment the most important and urgent measure is the reinforcement of the government functions that can ensure the sustainable use of water resources. This could provide a stable basis for the regulation of the use of scarce water resources and finite water management infrastructure capacities. The economic conditions created by the appropriate management of infrastructure and resources could then provide the foundation for introducing incentives to influence decisions on land use, a major driver of the quality of our water bodies (e.g. with respect to reducing nutrient loads). Shifting water management and water services toward more efficient utilisation is not hindered by the absence of technical and engineering knowledge–there is plenty of that. The main obstacle is unclarity of economic interests, which makes it difficult to launch technical-ecological solutions that also support financially sustainable water management activities (e.g. management of excess water inundations, irrigation). The cautious application of economic policy instruments is inevitable to clarify economic interests and develop efficient, sustainable solutions within the water sector.

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