Government: Utilities & Regulators

So much of the success of the Sustainable Development Goals (see the section in Policy for a description) and an end to ocean wastewater pollution is dependent on the action of national and local governments. Often there is infrastructure involved that is paid for, and managed by, government funds. It is generally the duty of the government to ensure public health and responsibly manage natural resources. The government has the power to create mandates, define policy, enforce regulations, and even spur innovation. The management of waste is usually carried out as a public service by a public utility or in some sort of public-private partnership. These utilities have a range of responsibilities including water collection, treatment, supply for domestic and industrial needs, and operation of sewered systems and treatment facilities that collect, treat, and dispose of wastewater. They provide an important public service and are critical partners in solving local pollution issues. They understand perhaps better than any other entity in the system how the system works and how it can be improved for better public health and environmental outcomes. There are regional associations of utilities that are also excellent resources as the challenge is addressed. Regulators (those that set the usage fees) are also critical partners given their intimate knowledge and influence in how water and sanitation is paid for in a particular place. Some regional and international examples include:

Government partners are going to be critical in almost every scenario in one form or another; and should be consulted early in any process to address ocean wastewater pollution.