The early recognition of environmental impacts

In developing countries problems concerning water quality have agravated during the last decade. While in industrialized countries the traditional and modern types of water pollution (e.g. domestic, industrial, nutrients) occured in over a 100- year period, in developing countries however they have occured within one generation [WHO, 1989]. Short time technical measures have important immediate effects, but for achieving sustainability it is critical to develop tools for long term planning which allow a better understanding of how different strategies affect outcomes and how strategies are sensitive to different levels and types of financing [Bower, 1989]. In industrialized countries the method of Material Flux Analysis (MFA), has been shown to be a suitable instrument for early recognition of environmental problems and evaluation of environmental measures [Baccini and Brunner, 1991]. It has been shown that it is possible to combine data from market research on one hand with data from urban waste management on the other hand to observe the metabolic dynamics of a region [Baccini et al. 1993]. However, this method has not been applied yet in Developing Countries due to the low data availability and the poor data quality. The aim of this paper is to show how the method of MFA was applied to a region in a Developing Country with regard to water resource management.