Representative Government and Environmental Management

By Edwin T. Haefele | Go to book overview

5 Representative Government and Environmental Management

INTRODUCTION

The following drama was played throughout the land in one form or another during the decade of the sixties. An announcement is made in local papers that a dam has been proposed upstream from central city which will (1) control floods, (2) ensure an adequate water supply to city residents, (3) provide recreation on the lake created by the dam, and (4) improve water quality in the river downstream. Mr. Cond Citizen may read the announcement with only casual interest, comforted, perhaps, that the public officials are doing something worthwhile for a change.

As time goes on, he is puzzled, even bewildered or angered, by a mounting controversy over the dam. The dam is attacked by the people who live on what is to be the bottom of the lake created by the dam. It is attacked by some people who sneer at "flatwater" recreation and speak rapturously of the existing "whitewater" where the dam is to be placed. It is attacked by fisherman who talk about spawning grounds, by biologists who decry artificial lakes and predict silting, by economists who talk about floodplain restrictions, and by engineers who mention reaeration of water as a cheaper method of improving water quality.

____________________
Reprinted with minor revision by permission of the Westwater Research Centre, University of British Columbia. The paper was originally presented at the Seminar on the Institutional Arrangements Associated with Planning and Implementing Water-Quality Management Decisions, Victoria, British Columbia, 30-31 March 1973.

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