The Review Function in Water Resources Development

by Edmund H. Lang,


Serial Information: Journal of the Power Division, 1966, Vol. 92, Issue 1, Pg. 39-54


Document Type: Journal Paper

Abstract: Water resources projects reviewed for the investment of public funds must pass tests against criteria that have been virtually unchanged since 1802. Selected projects show continuity of criteria, common features likely to produce controversy, and proved evaluation procedures. The Corps of Engineers projects reviewed by the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors prior to authorization by the Congress serve as the basis for much of the paper. Attention is given to adequate presentation of all information needed for a reliable decision by a body concerned with professional integrity, the full significance of reasonable alternatives, and sound project formulation. The application of announced policy to specific projects frequently shows inadequacies or inconsistencies not recognized previously and best resolved with the aid of collective judgment by an experienced review organization. Projects must meet tests for feasibility, adequate value, and an assured market. They must show economic efficiency by comparing favorably with other alternatives. The review integrates political factors in the decision process at Secretary level or higher. Roles of the Federal Power Commission and the Bureau of the Budget receive special attention.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Political factors | Investments | Rivers and streams | Ports and harbors | Information management | Organizations | Feasibility studies

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