A local approach is necessary
Though almost all activities and areas of the world are facing or will face water challenges, the nature of the challenges varies significantly. They include fresh water scarcity, salinisation, flooding and pollution.
Due to this variability, regulatory frameworks need to be tailor-made, taking local conditions such as water availability and discharge options into account.
Water management is, therefore, most effectively regulated by local and/or regional authorities. Typically, regional authorities are best suited to dealing with quantitative issues as these issues concern the entire water basin. In contrast, local authorities are best suited to dealing with quality issues related to waste water discharge for example.
Generic global or continental measures, in particular if expressed as a reduction in water usage per tonne of product, do not take these local circumstances into account, and might even be counterproductive. They should, therefore, not be applied at all.
Water usage objectives should always be linked to water availability and scarcity.
Local and/or regional authorities are the most competent regulatory bodies for water management issues since they are best placed to assess the local/regional circumstances.