Identifying the Publics in Water Resource Planning

by Gene E. Willeke, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; Grad. Program in City Planning, Georgia Inst. of Tech., Atlanta, Ga.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Water Resources Planning and Management Division, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 1, Pg. 137-150

Document Type: Journal Paper


The public is not a unitary mass, but rather is comprised of segments (publics) of the general public. Identification includes locating the publics, determining their interests and their social and demographic characteristics, and learning how to communicate with them. Publics are identified to increase the range and richness of issues and concerns brought to salience in the planning process. Identification techniques are divided into three groups: (1) Self-identification; (2) third-party identification; and (3) staff identification. Self-identification is done through correspondence, petition, appeal, public hearing, election, suit, protest, and publicity. These processes may be enhanced by providing structures for self-identification. Third-party identification is done by asking some person or group to identify those groups or individuals who should be involved. Staff identification includes analysis of associations, geographic analysis, demographic analysis, historical and comparative analysis, the use of general lists, field interviews, and analysis of affected publics.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Public participation | Social factors | Comparative studies

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