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Towards More Effective Water Quality Governance: A Review of Social-Economic, Legal and Ecological Perspectives and Their Interactions

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National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), P.O. Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands
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Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80115, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
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Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law, Utrecht University, Newtonlaan 231, 3584 BH Utrecht, The Netherlands
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 914; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040914
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
In this article, social-economic, legal and ecological perspectives on effectiveness of water quality governance and their interactions have been studied. Worldwide, authorities are facing the challenge of restoring and preserving aquatic ecosystems in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 6). Over the last few decades, governance approaches have often been used to realise these ambitions. To date, scholars have identified that it is difficult to relate governance approaches to water quality improvement and have offered several different explanations for this. Combined with a targeted conceptualisation of the perspectives and their interactions, the systematic literature review demonstrates the gap that exists in the current understanding of these interactions and what their effects are on water quality improvement, especially in regard to the identification of ecological issues and their boundary conditions for the legal framework and the development of measures and follow-up. The review also reveals that the scientific debate is focused on the planning rather than implementation phase. A step forward can be made by supplementing existing analytical frameworks by the interactions between the different perspectives, especially those related to problem definition and the development and realisation of measures. View Full-Text
Keywords: effectiveness; governance; social-ecology; water law; water quality; freshwater ecosystems effectiveness; governance; social-ecology; water law; water quality; freshwater ecosystems
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wuijts, S.; Driessen, P.P.J.; Van Rijswick, H.F.M.W. Towards More Effective Water Quality Governance: A Review of Social-Economic, Legal and Ecological Perspectives and Their Interactions. Sustainability 2018, 10, 914.

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