In conditions of severe water-pollution and dormant community acceptance of accumulating environmental damage, the regulator's role goes beyond pollution prevention and more towards remediation and solutions based on the community's long-term expectations of economic benefits from clean water. This paper suggests a method to enable these benefits to become perceptible progressively, through participatory clean-up operations, supported by staggered pollution charges. It analyses the relevant literature on pollution prevention and applies a cost-based “willingness to pay” model, using primary basin-level data of total marginal costs. It develops a replicable demand-side approach imposing charge-standard targets over time in urban-industrial basins of developing countries.

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