Phosphorus (P) is a non-renewable, essential resource with no substitute. It also a pollutes surface waters by causing eutrophication under certain conditions. Therefore, it is important both to determine how well the substance is managed in a region and to evaluate this management performance, as well as suggesting ways of improvement.
Phosphorus management efforts were up to now concentrated on the efficient use of the resource in agriculture, or on the control of the P-emissions into surface waters. This study presents a method for the regional management of the non-renewable resource, P, with a long-term perspective, applied to Turkey and Austria as case studies and by using the Material Flow Analysis (MFA) technique. The study aims the collection of nation-wide statistical data in order to describe the resource use and waste management; the evaluation of this descriptive model after having it quantified, and the comparison of various management strategies with respect to their long-term solution potential. The evaluation method offered incorporates the hinterland consumption and involves indicators, which are defined based on the depletion and the pollution potentials created. Therefore, it can be used for the inter-regional comparisons on the resource use performance.
Using this approach for planning and monitoring would also be possible, which is shown in this study by applying it to various future projections of resource availability, i.e., the scenarios. On the other hand, the study shows the importance of analysing the substance flows in a thorough way, so that all important flows are accounted for and the flexibility necessary for the partial alterations in the model is achieved. It further shows the widely varying substance flows (or metabolisms) from region to region. The period of self-sufficiency of a region and the ways of extending this period; potential pollution; hinterland and future pollution potentials; contribution of a region to the depletion problem; extent and limits of the conservation efforts (saving/ direct recycling/ stocking and long-term recycling) are discussed by using indicators and scenarios. Concepts such as depletion, hinterland use and useful stock (generation) are (re)defined and used in evaluating the material flows.