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Evaluation of policy measures and methods to reduce diffuse water pollution

  • After considerable improvements of wastewater treatment, the loads of nutrients and plant protection agents, deriving from agriculture and heavy metals from urban drainages effluents as well as from erosion of agricultural soils are the main sources of nutrients and harmful substances in the loads of water bodies. The targets of the project were on the one hand the analysis of the political and legislative framework of both policy fields and on the other hand the evaluation of several, selected water protection measures with regard to their contribution to reduce water pollution, their economical effects as well as their political enforceability. The focus was laid on diffuse water pollution caused by agriculture. As main reasons for theAfter considerable improvements of wastewater treatment, the loads of nutrients and plant protection agents, deriving from agriculture and heavy metals from urban drainages effluents as well as from erosion of agricultural soils are the main sources of nutrients and harmful substances in the loads of water bodies. The targets of the project were on the one hand the analysis of the political and legislative framework of both policy fields and on the other hand the evaluation of several, selected water protection measures with regard to their contribution to reduce water pollution, their economical effects as well as their political enforceability. The focus was laid on diffuse water pollution caused by agriculture. As main reasons for the diffuse water pollution stagnating at high level, the analysis of the political framework identified a lack of implementation discipline of water law, followed by the fragmented and insufficient water protection legislation itself and the previous design of the common agricultural policy slanted towards increasing productivity. For the future co-operation of agricultural and water authorities in implementation of their reforms and better definition of "Good Farming Practice" are recommended. The second investigation level focuses on the analysis and assessment of selected measures to reduce the input of nutrients and plant protection agents. This part was done with help of calculation models focussing on the specific cost/benefit ratios for water protection. In detail the following measures have been analysed: decoupling of direct payments, coupling of livestock farming to areas, tax on mineral nitrogen, pesticide levy, buffer stripes alongside of watercourses, all season crop cover on arable land, soil cultivation procedures, changing the use of arable land, optimisation of animal nutrition, optimisation of manure storage and application, co-operative agreements, education and training. Co-operations and water protection related education and training can be highly recommended, since they improve knowledge and freedom of action. As the results on county level show, the measure "Decoupling of direct payments" would not lead to appreciable changes as far as the nutrient surpluses on farmland is concerned. "Coupling livestock farming to areas" would decrease the surpluses substantially. For this measure and Tax on mineral nitrogen, varying adaptation reactions could be expected depending on the regional specialisation in cropping or livestock farming areas. On single farm level the measures, protein adapted feeding, optimisation of manure storage and application showed the best cost-efficiency to reduce nutrient surpluses. All season crop cover on arable land and conservation tillage are highly efficient, too, and should be included in farming practice. A stronger limitation of livestock density could mean a reduction of manure, but the implementation of this measure would lead to high losses of income for farmers specialised in animal production. For reduction of diffuse water pollution caused by urban drainage political approaches as well as detailed technical measures are examined. In the area of urban drainage storm water management (especially infiltration and constructed wetlands), unsealing of paved areas and small wastewater treatment structures (for phosphorus reduction) showed best cost-effectiveness.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Document Type:Report
Author:Uta Lange, Helmut Döhler, Brigitte Eurich-Menden, Horst Gömann, Peter Jäger, Peter Kreins, Christine Möller, Achim Prigge, Erik Ristenpart, Ute Schultheiß
URN (citable link):https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:101:1-2008091293
Publisher:Umweltbundesamt
Place of Publication:Dessau
Year of Publication:2006
Pagenumber:160
Series Title (English):Texte / Umweltbundesamt
Volume:2006,25
Language:English
Dewey Decimal Classification:600 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften
Abteilung:Abteilung Klimapolitik