Urban Water Resources—The Politics of Management

by Francis B. Francois, Councilman-at-Large; Prince George's County, Upper Marlboro, MD; Pres., Natl. Assoc. of Regional Councils; Chmn, Health and Envir. Protection Policy Committee, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments; and Patent Atty., Bacon & Thomas, Washington, D.C.,

Serial Information: Engineering Issues: Journal of Professional Activities, 1973, Vol. 99, Issue 3, Pg. 365-372

Document Type: Journal Paper


With urban development in America came the need for clean drinking water and sewage treatment. Beginning in the late 1800s, local governments and special purpose agencies began to meet the need, the state governments having relegated the task to them. By the early 20th Century most health problems were solved, and the facilities were being built on an on demand basis. The on demand philosophy collided in the 1950s with city and growth planning efforts, causing more direct political control over water and/or sewer agencies. In the 1960s the federal government entered the field with environmental legislation, and caused states to accept responsibility. With the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control law, new planning relationships among federal, state, and local governments are demanded, including regional implementation ability. In the next few years key issues of organization and goal setting are faced, which are set forth.

Subject Headings: Municipal water | Water resources | Resource management | Federal government | Urban areas | Political factors | Local government | State government

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