This paper outlines the improvements in water quality which have occurred in the River Trent catchment since about 1960 and the strategies by which they have been achieved. During this period there have also been several major changes in the structure of water quality management, in pollution control legislation and in the use of river and effluent quality standards. The links between quality trends, legislation, management structures and investment in sewerage and sewage treatment are considered. Prospects for the future under the current management regime are discussed.

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