U.S. Water Policy: Putting the Lid on the Pork Barrel

by Virginia Fairweather, Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1980, Vol. 50, Issue 4, Pg. 53-57

Document Type: Feature article


Federal water policy is undergoing a significant change, both in the way projects are developed and approved and in the kinds of water problems addressed. The Congress and the Executive Branch are struggling over which branch of the government should take the lead in this area. Uniform criteria for judging the merit of proposed water projects are being set and promulgated. These are based on administration goals for national water policy; among them are: (1)Conservation; (2)rigorous adherence to cost/benefit analyses and recommendations; (3)state cost-sharing for certain kinds of revenue-producing projects; (4)nonstructural approaches; (5)environmental considerations; and (6)economic benefit. Projects themselves are likely to continue to focus on flood control, but with a nonstructural approach. Groundwater contamination and depletion are likely to be concerns in the near future; urban water supplies constitute another area for federal concern.

Subject Headings: Water policy | Sustainable development | Federal government | Groundwater pollution | Municipal water | Benefit cost ratios | Construction costs | Floods

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