The Evolution of Water Resource Planning and Decision Making

The Evolution of Water Resource Planning and Decision Making

Edited by Clifford S. Russell and Duane D. Baumann

This broad review of the development of US water resource policy analysis and practice offers perspectives from several disciplines: law, economics, engineering, ecology and political science. The historical context provided goes back to the early 19th century, but the book concentrates on the past 60 years. A key feature is a discussion of the difficulty that has generally been encountered in bringing the disciplines of economics and ecology into collaboration in the water resource context.

Chapter 4: Environmental Issues and Options in Water Resources Planning and Decision Making

David H. Moreau and Daniel P. Loucks

Subjects: environment, water


David H. Moreau and Daniel P. Loucks INTRODUCTION When asked, Americans usually express environmental concerns about a variety of water-related issues, including: drinking water quality; ambient water quality in streams and lakes as this relates to water-contact recreation; health of aquatic ecosystems and the abundance of game fish; preservation of streams and related habitat, including lands of natural, scenic and historical interest; and water supply in ample amount and sufficient quality for industry and agriculture. These concerns are outward expressions of values increasingly woven into the fabric of US culture, especially since 1970. That is not to say that all citizens share the same priorities, but there is evidence that most share the same broad goals and concerns. Related advances in science, policy formulation, and project planning, evaluation and implementation, have been substantial, especially over the past four decades, yet major uncertainties and issues remain. Examining the emergence of policy and planning techniques addressing water resources issues, will help us identify the matters yet to be resolved. ENVIRONMENTAL VALUES Environmental concerns expressed by Americans arise from several basic values. Kempton et al. (1995) relied on several studies as well as their own anthropological research to conclude: Americans’ environmental values derive from three sources: (1) religion, whether traditional Judeo-Christian religious teaching or a more abstract feeling of spirituality; (2) anthropocentric (human-centered) values, which are largely utilitarian and are concerned with only those environmental changes that affect human welfare; and (3) biocentric (living-thing-centered) values, 136 Environmental issues and options 137 which grant...

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