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Socio-economic measures influencing water management

One approach to save water and improve water quality is to apply economic instruments like water prices or wastewater charges. The problem with economic measures is that it might happen that ecological targets are not reached exactly in the first step of implementation. Therefore a re-adjustment of the economic incentive setting may be necessary until ecological targets are achieved successfully.

Measures that try to persuade consumers and producers to reduce their water use could be public information campaigns, educational programs at schools and advisory services for agricultural and industrial water users. Together with the economic instruments they form the group of socio-economic measures that can have even stronger impacts on water uses in the long run and can achieve ecological targets at usually lower costs than inflexible command-and-control approaches.
To prevent negative social side-effects of water management, consultation and participation of potentially affected groups of water users is necessary in the process of water policy formulation and implementation.