Water Plan Ranking and the Public Interest

by Leonard Ortolano, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Stanford Univ., Stanford, Calif.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Water Resources Planning and Management Division, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 1, Pg. 35-48

Document Type: Journal Paper


The public interest, which often serves as the basis for ranking alternative Federal water resources plans, is defined in terms of the following: What factors should be considered, and how should the factors be weighed relative to one another in ranking proposals? Answers to this question provide the framework for an analysis of several approaches that have been used in ranking alternatives, (e.g., economic efficiency, weighted sum of objectives). In the course of examining these approaches, an argument is made in support of trends toward the direct involvement of citizens in the determination of factors and weights. The approaches examined, as they are commonly employed in practice, are shown to be less than satisfactory in terms of involving citizens in determining factors and weights. A process is outlined which integrates public involvement activities into the ranking of alternatives and which has been found useful in the context of Corps of Engineers' water resources studies.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Water management | Public participation | Federal government | Economic factors

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