The project summarised in this paper was aimed at developing water quality legislation in Hungary and funded through the PHARE programme of the European Union. Hungary, in common with the other former Eastern European countries, is in a period of transition as it moves from a state socialist system to a free market economy and a full member of the European Union. The project sought to explore the means whereby water quality could be managed on a river basin basis and the legislative, institutional, economic and regulatory challenges resolved. A key element of the project was the carrying out of five case studies, on different catchments, to evaluate the various approaches. An important element of these studies was the participation of all interested parties in the individual catchments. The project showed that to move to a full system of integrated river basin management would be a step too far at this stage and, instead, recommended a system of Catchment Planning Commissions, accountable to Central Government, for the development of catchment based water quality objectives and plans for their achievement together with the monitoring and reporting of progress on implementation. The concomitant legal requirements were detailed and the need for public participation emphasised.

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