Water Quality: Processes and Policy

Water Quality: Processes and Policy

Water Quality: Processes and Policy

Water Quality: Processes and Policy


Global water issues are likely to be as important in the forseeable future as the oil crisis was in the 1970s. There is an urgent need for management to be apprised of scientific work and of the uncertainties that are associated with it, and for scientists to be able to transmit their work to management in a comprehensible way.

This book explores the management of water quality in urban, rural and coastal environments. It brings together science and policy making in a timely and relevant way. As such, this book will appeal to professionals working within the water industry and also to academic institutions which have an interest in the issues relating to water quality


This volume is the by-product of a one-day meeting on Water Quality: Processes and Policy held during Exeter '97, the Royal Geographical Society – Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG) Annual Conference which took place at the University of Exeter, Devon, UK, in early January 1997. The session was convened by two of the RGS-IBG Research Groups, namely the British Geomorphological Research Group and the Environmental Research Group. The aim of the meeting was to address the relationship between science and policy making with respect to water quality in river and other environments. The answering of questions such as [do policy makers use scientific underpinning or are their decisions more politically motivated?], and [should scientists be constrained by policy-making contexts?] was one of the objectives of this meeting. The 15 chapters in this book are based on papers given at Exeter and on a number of invited contributions. The book is divided into three sections, which contain chapters dealing with global perspectives, with particular scientific issues informing water quality policies, and with the links between science and policy in the water quality field.

Water quality is a vast and complex topic. It embraces all phases of the hydrological cycle from precipitation inputs, through terrestrial surface and groundwater systems to the marine environment into which freshwater runoff ultimately discharges. Water quality can be defined by numerous physical, chemical and biological parameters, is subject to a wide range of natural controls and human influences, and exhibits complex variations over different spatial and temporal scales (Peters et al., 1997, 1998).

Although not exclusively the result of human impacts, very many water quality problems existing in the world today have arisen through the use of water for domestic, agricultural and industrial purposes. As a consequence, surface, ground and coastal

Water Quality. Processes and Policy. Edited by Stephen T. Trudgill, Des E. Walling and Bruce W. Webb.
© 1999 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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