Can Engineering Forecasters Effect Water Law?

by George W. Reid, (M.ASCE), Dir.; School of Civ. Engrg. and Envir. Sci., Bureau of Water Resour. Res., Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK,
E. Edd Pritchett, Legal Asst. to the Governor of the State of Oklahoma,
Susan Pritchett, Student; Univ. of Oklahoma Law School, Norman, OK,

Serial Information: Journal of the Sanitary Engineering Division, 1971, Vol. 97, Issue 4, Pg. 479-484

Document Type: Journal Paper


The writers have pointed out the emerging water resources problems associated with the escalation of the nation's life style and population growth made possible by unprecedented technological capability. The importance of shear magnitude and short response time as well as an evident shift of emphasis from an open loop to a closed loop system was also stressed. Engineering has accepted the necessity of advance planning and exploration of alternates using the systems approach looking at possible and probable worlds. Comprehensive systems with roots firmly grounded in the future are required to meet the needs before they present themselves, freeing the engineer from historic and rigid laws. The Riparian and appropriation doctrines are all found wanting, and based on a Res Communes doctrine legislative law is suggested that will provide for operation and management of water resources system in an optimal fashion, permitting engineers, economists, and lawyers to work together placing technological and ecological priorities in their proper perspective. Such a system would protect long-term investment, enable long-range planning and establish alternative goals.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Forecasting | Water policy | Laws | Resource management | Lifeline systems | Population projection | Shear stress

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