Sustained development is the target of almost every modern policy dealing with the aquatic environment. Sustainability is focused on human life, but also on the ecological quality of our environment. Both aspects are essential for life on earth.
The ecological quality of aquatic systems can be expressed by biotic and abiotic parameters. Monitoring and research give information about these parameters and a comparison with the targets brings us to the necessity of supplementary policy-measures.
Human activities are considered to be the cause of the environmental problems. All kinds of social and economical activities influence the water bodies. Reaching the goals is only possible if human influence on environment is changed or reduced.
Within a catchment area, relations could be laid between human activities and ecological problems in the reception areas. Policy analysis is especially looking for the most efficient way to remove the bottlenecks. For an effective policy analysis in river catchment areas the following elements are essential:
– quantitative data; monitoring programs have to consider more than ever the ecological aspects of policy analysis;
– the determination of target values (probably by means of laboratory experiments);
- knowledge about the factors causing violation of the targets;
– an inventory of measures for influencing the existing or future situation;
– sufficient knowledge about the relation between the measures and (i) the ecological parameters and (ii) the social and economical activities in society;
– a policy analysis for defining future policies;
All of these studies will generate many data; to present these in a clear and succinct manner is one of the goals of the project “The Aquatic Outlook”.