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A Review of Water Resources Planning, by Andrew A. Dzurik 2009/12/08

Posted by catherineyork in Environmental Planning.
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Reviewed By: Catherine M. York

Water Resources Planning, by Andrew A. Dzurik, gives a broad overview of the field of water resources planning and management.  He suggests that the future of the specialty includes a wide range of planning specialties.  Depending on the area of involvement, the planner participating in water resources planning might require advanced knowledge in hydrologic sciences.  However, due to the vast array of issues related to water, environmental experts are not the only players necessary.  Since watersheds cross state lines, water issues have national implications and therefore planning for these concerns is done within federal, state, and local governments and also within the private sector.  National concerns regarding water center on energy and food production, environmental quality, and regional economic development.  There are many different roles planners fill and include providing expertise in the areas of law, economics, and community land use and development to name a few.

With so many differing uses for water: being essential to life, agricultural and industrial production, and water based recreation and transportation; there are inherently conflicting interests between stakeholders.  Dzurik states that “No single plan satisfies all economic and environmental objectives, and therefore the plan formulation process must represent trade-offs among conflicting interests” (p. 89).  It is due to this conflicting nature that he argues “…most water problems are not primarily due to physical constraints or technical inabilities but to a lack of consensus on objectives or on methods of achieving those [objectives] that have been set” (p. 2).  Planners are necessary to encourage better cooperation and compromise between the competing needs for water.  Dzurik cites the most significant water resources planning problems are related to water use and supply, water quality, stormwater planning and management, and floodplain management.

Resource management is necessary to plan for more dependable water supplies for communities.  He states that “Essentially, regardless of which part of the world we are considering, all of these water issues boil down to a matter of growing populations and developing economies leading to a continually increasing demand and competition among uses for a relatively fixed resource” (p. 6).  Water quality refers to distinctive characteristics of a particular supply or body of water in regards to some use such as drinking, manufacturing, agriculture, recreation, or propagation of fish and wildlife.  Land uses have a great deal of influence on the quality of water.  Open spaces and agricultural land increase the amount of suspended soil particles and nutrients; whereas, urban areas input industrial and domestic sewage (point-sources) and stormwater runoff (non-point sources).

Stormwater planning and management is necessary because as rainwater flows across the land it picks up sediments and other containments which eventually pollute lakes, rivers, and streams.  These contaminants come from agriculture, urban areas, streets and highways, residential lots, and other types of land uses.  These non-point sources are difficult to track, monitor, and regulate.  As regions become more built up, the amount of paved areas (impervious surfaces) increase and as a result this increases the quantity of stormwater and contaminants in these areas.  These types of changes to the built environment can also increase the severity of flooding due to a lack of appropriate natural areas for flooding to occur.  Floodplain management becomes necessary to help reduce the impact of flooding.  Some tools to reduce flooding susceptibility include land use controls, zoning, eminent domain, easements, tax policies, and transferable development rights.

Dzurik states that “Water resources activity in this country has gone through a period of major change in the past quarter-century.  The nation has shifted from large-scale water resources development to greater emphasis on water quality and environmental protection” (p. 7).  Conservation and reuse will play major roles in the future.  He states that “…the era of big water projects is coming to a close. “New” supplies must now come from more efficient water use.  The prime candidate for such conservation efforts is agriculture” (p. 148).

Dzurik, A. A. (2003). Water Resources Planning (3rd ed.). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc..

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