Policy Instruments for Water Quality Protection

J. Shortle and R. D. Horan

Annual Review of Resource Economics (2013)

DOI: 10.1146/annurev-resource-091912-151903

We examine policy instruments for ambient water quality protection. One objective is to illustrate the unique and complex informational challenges that must be addressed in constructing instruments that are effective and efficient for point and nonpoint sources. A second objective is to describe developments in real-world policies. Crucial to solving contemporary water quality challenges and improving the efficiency of water quality protection are reducing nonpoint pollution and efficiently integrating point management and nonpoint management. Accordingly, particular attention is given to instruments for nonpoint sources and to instruments that integrate point and nonpoint management. Our review of the literature in this area indicates that practical approaches will necessarily be second best but that careful instrument design and coordinated control across all sources can enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of water pollution control.

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