The Evolution of Water Resource Planning and Decision Making
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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.
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Chapter 2: A History of the United States Water Resources Planning and Development

Warren Viessman


Warren Viessman, Jr INTRODUCTION The objectives of this chapter are to acquaint the reader with historical trends in water resources planning and development from 1800 to the first decade of the twenty-first century, including: ● ● ● ● ● The evolution of supporting legislation. The changes in analytical requirements for project analysis. The shift in focus from water resources development to water quality management and ecosystems restoration. Contemporary federal, state, regional and international water resources planning processes. Recommendations for future actions and policies. Many agencies, organizations, commissions and panels have been active and influential in planning, designing, constructing and managing facilities for the development and use of water resources. An understanding of how the US water policy evolved over time will help us understand how what we do in the future will be influenced, and sometimes constrained, by historical events and current agency biases. Indeed, the future effectiveness of initiatives in water management will depend on the extent to which attention is paid to lessons learned from past successes and failures. This evolution is summarized in the following sections. A more complete accounting of the period 1800 to 1970 may be found in Holmes (1972, 1979). 14 History of US water resources planning and development 15 WATER RESOURCES PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT FROM 1800 TO THE EARLY TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY 1800 to 1900: The Emergence of Water Resources Planning Much of the water resources development occurring in the earliest part of the nineteenth century resulted from private sector initiatives aimed at harnessing the water power of rivers...

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