Social Aspects of Water Resources Planning

by Gene E. Willeke, (M.ASCE), Dir.; Inst. of Environmental Sci., Miami Univ., Oxford, Ohio,

Serial Information: Journal of the Water Resources Planning and Management Division, 1979, Vol. 105, Issue 1, Pg. 79-90

Document Type: Journal Paper


Although social goals have always been considered to some extent in major water programs, treating social concerns in a systematic manner is a recent feature of water planning. This reflects a growing understanding of social systems, recognition that planning is better when social factors are considered, and legal requirements for assessing social inmpacts. From 1776 to 1925, water management structures were small and there was little Federal involvement. Although planning methodology was meager, social factors were given substantial attention. From 1925 to 1960, an era of building large water management structures, there was a strong belief in the efficacy of structural solutions. From 1960 to the present, evidence accumulated on adverse effects of projects in such magnitude that planning procedures and goals were modified to give greater attention to equity and social impacts. Public involvement in planning was mandated. These developments appear to be leading towards the end of the long separation of the social sciences and engineering.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Social factors | Water management | Water treatment | Legal affairs | Federal government | Building management | Public participation

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