A main reason for the persistence of current water pollution lies in the diffuse character of many of its sources. For a large part such diffuse pollution is related to the production, use and waste of various kinds of products. For the reduction of this pollution, a product-oriented policy strategy, based on interaction with stakeholders could be more successful than the traditional measures of direct regulation that were devised for point source reduction. In this article we identify different types of product policy, and explore the potential benefits and costs for water quality management. The methods that can be used in a product policy approach are illustrated with some examples. Although the specific advantages for water quality management have not been quantified yet, governments increasingly recognise the potential positive effects. In this context, the European Water Framework Directive, in stimulating product policy by enhancing public and stakeholders' participation, can be considered to be part of a general development towards interactive water management.

Diffuse sources, Product life cycle analysis, Product policy, Stakeholders, Water quality management
dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11269-005-2703-8, hdl.handle.net/1765/64757
Water Resources Management
Department of Public Administration

van Ast, J.A, Le Blansch, K, Boons, F.A.A, & Slingerland, S. (2005). Product policy as an instrument for water quality management. Water Resources Management, 19(2), 187–198. doi:10.1007/s11269-005-2703-8