Water quality management has been a priority in Hungary in the past decades. Focus was especially upon improving water supply and stimulating economic development.

On 1st January 1996 new Law on General Regulations for Environmental Protection (No. 53/1995) and the Act on Water Management (No. 57/1995) came into force. These laws are framework laws providing objectives to the development of the legal instrumentation of environmental and water protection. These new regulations should reflect the transitional nature of Hungary and should stimulate and facilitate the use of the most cost-effective and efficient forms of water quality management. Furthermore the regulations should aim at harmonization with EC directives.

To support the elaboration of the new regulations case studies were carried out in the frame of a EU PHARE financed project to give answers to several water quality management and economic questions, such as (a) the way in which water quality objectives can be set when dealing with transboundary loads and vulnerable groundwater resources; (b) how to address industries in sanitation; (c) how to formulate collection and treatment requirements in the case of a very sensitive surface water originating in a river basin with predominantly non-vulnerable groundwater resources; (d) the cost effective sanitation strategy; (e) the determination of permissible loads by using water quality models; and (f) how to allocate this load among pollution sources. The paper is gives an overview of the case study with the discussion of the conclusions.

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