Economics of Watershed Planning

Economics of Watershed Planning

Economics of Watershed Planning

Economics of Watershed Planning

Excerpt

Frontiers used to move West, but a symptom of our national maturity is that some of the frontiers in water resources development are moving in the opposite direction. The spreading interest in water in the East does not stem from the same urgent concern about water scarcity found in the West. Where serious problems do occur in the East, they often concern only one facet of water use such as flood control, pollution due to growing industries, or the reaching out of growing cities for water supplies. These lead naturally to an awareness of the interrelatedness of all water uses. Irrigation is increasing, partly due to reductions in the cost of pumping and transporting water. In most eastern areas irrigation still does not use a large fraction of the water supply, but the agricultural effects can be seen and are dramatic even if as yet localized.

The increased interest in water resources all over the country suggests that the desirability of advance planning is being recognized. Programs now under way are helping to accumulate experience that will be ever more valuable as water problems increase in importance. Watersheds are being developed throughout the country by building small dams, clearing stream channels, adjusting cropping patterns to control water runoff and improve incomes, and by making other investments in a small-area context. While this book is concerned partly with how small watershed development can best fit into river basin and regional planning, its more general aim is to contribute to a variety of working-level planning decisions that concern technicians, administrators, and legislators in on-going water resources development.

Examination of small watershed development gives an opportunity to build on the many improvements that have occurred in project formulation and evaluation. Procedures in natural resources planning that drew criticism a few years ago have been improved by developing and enforcing a more adequate theoretical framework and by obtaining personnel well qualified to do planning. Small watershed planning has been a forerunner in these improvements and can continue to serve as a model for other programs. Watershed planning teams at once exemplify the merits of an interdisciplinary approach and call attention to problems involving communication between disciplines that still need to be worked on. Issues are being faced regarding community participation. When development occurs in an area whose resources are already heavily utilized, a vexing knot of economic, attitudinal, organizational, and legal strictures may be encountered. These will continue to be challenging as national growth leads to more and more pressures for resource development involving group action.

In order to examine the problems just mentioned, representatives of public agencies and universities assembled at Knoxville, Tennessee, in June, 1959, for the Symposium on the Economics of Watershed Planning. This book contains the proceedings of the Symposium.

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