REPORT ON GAO I l WATER PROGRAM SYMPOSIUM . ..I ! • COMMUNITY AND ECONOMlC DEVELOPMENT DIVISION UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON , D.C. SEPTEMBER, 1977 GAO Te 423 . A4 , UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASH I NGTON. D.C. 20548 COMMUNIT V AN D ECONOMIC September 27 , 1977 OEVE L O P M ENT DIVI SION Mr . Henry Esc hw ege , Director Com m ~unity and Eco nomic Developmen t Division Cear rtr . Lsc hwege : Thls is o ur r epo rt o n the Water Program Sy~posium he ld by our Divisi o n in Ma y 1977. The GAO Sympos iu m was he l d in conjunction with th e 1~77 Nat i onal Confe r en c e o n Wate r. By attending th e National Co n- ference f irs t , t he GAO staff had a unique opportunity t o he dr p ublic deba t e on t he im po rtant water management issues f acin g our Na t ion . The i nformation obtaine d at the Co n fere nc e aug- me n ted th e Symp o sium pr oceedi ngs and shar pened th e GAO staff memb0 r s ' wate r iss ue s and probl e ms perspective. This r epo r t includ e s a d i sc us s ion of the 1977 Nat io n a l Confe r e nce o n wa t e r p roc eedings , the GAO Symposium Pan e l Report s on t he Wa t e r Prog ram Plan Lines - of -Ef fort , a summary of the participa nt s ' v iews on the Conference - Symposium f o rmat, ana a list in g o f th e ir su gg e sti o ns for futur e aud i t wo rk . I n r espo ns e t o questi o nnaires, th e Symposium participants s t ate d tha t t he mee t i ng was ben e ficial a nd productive, and t hat suc h mee t i ng s sho u ld be he ld periodically . Whil e th e fo r mat and s tru c t u r e of f utur e symposia was subject to d i s - c ussio n, th e us e o f thi s meo ium as a valuable manageme nt to ol was no t. In vi e w o f the participa nts' endorse me nt o f t he Symposium co ncep t a nd in rec ognition of its v~lue in c arrying o u t i ssu e area pr ogram plans , we be l ieve that the Communi t y a nd Eco nomic Deve l opment Division should continue e nco ur a g i ng mee tin gs betwee n the Washington and regional s t aff for ea ch o f th e Di v isi o n's issue areas . , We wo ul d I i ke t o tha n k the Ila sh i ngton and reg ional office s taf f me mbers f o r their enthusiast i c pa rtici pa ti on in the Sympos iu m. The ir c omm e nts and suggestion~ for future au d it work are g r ea tl y a pp reci a t e d an d will be considered i n revisi ng th e Wat e r Pr ogram Plan. -) ( c.. fj,(J ;ip;;;;2-4/, r;.~y vr4 r:a~.;/dwvv'- Ha ro ld P ichney. ! Max Hirschhorn Ass is t a nt Di r€!t9t ur --Coordinator Deputy Director of Water Pr og rams • GHO iCY';; ~ , ~~ ~------------------------------- - - - - - - - -- - - - -- - CON TEN T S CHAPTER 1 1977 NATIONAl CONFERENCE ON WATER 1 2 PURPOSE OF GAO SYMPOSIUM 4 3 SYMPOSIUM PANE L REPORTS ON LINES-OF- • EFFORT 6 Are existing water resource plans and programs adequate to meet the com- peting demands for water uses? 7 Do water agencies and industr y have effect i ve water conservation and reuse programs which reduce demand and make more efficient use of water supplies? 10 How can the constraints of water laws and rights on meeting pr i or:ty water needs be effectivel y resol v ed? 12 Do Federal agencies' benef i t -c ost anal y ses full y and, realistically con- sider the benef i c i al and ad v e r se effects of water resource projects? 14 Non- pr i ority l i nes-of-effort 16 4 SUMMARY OF SYMPOSI UM PARTICIPANTS' VIEWS 18 5 PARTICIPANTS' SUGGESTI ON S FOR FUTURE AUDIT WORK 21 APP ENDIX I SYMPOSI UM AGENDA AND LIST OF PARTICIP ANTS 24 CHAPTER 1 1977 NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON WATER WATER MANAGEMENT: PROBLEMS AND OPPORTUNITIES May 23-25, 1977 CHASE PARK PLAZA HOTEL, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI NATIONAL CONFERENCE OBJECTIVES: - -To identify and assess major management problems and constraints in current water resources programs - - To evaluate various alternative management approaches and their implications --To offer administrative and legislative recommenda- tions to strengthen water management programs While the confe r ence was sponsored by the United States Water Resources Council, it was essentially planned by national interest groups. The workshop programs were organized and led by four organizations: universities Council on Water Resources League of Women Voters of the United States Water Resources Congress Interstate Conference on Water Problems As a result, the conference was not Federal agency-oriented and provided the attendees an opportunity to hear the views of a broad range of governmental and non-governmental interests r epresented in the workshop panels. On the first day, the critical water programs and the water assessment process was examined in workshops entitled: Energy and Water; Urbanization; Environmental; Water Alloca- tions and Priorities; and Process and Criteria. On the second day, the conference was concerned with examining, in response to the water problems, policy and program alternatives for • organizing, financing and implementing water resources manage- ment in workshops entitled : Planning, Water Programs, Regu- l ations, and Intergovernmental and Private Responsibilities . At the conference, Secretary of the Interior , Cecil D. Andrus , said that the President, in his environmental message to the Congress, set the stage for a national water policy to emphasize conservation, reduce waste of tax dollars, minimize environmental costs, insure safety, and coordinate Federal, State, and local programs so they do not work at cross purposes. Addressing the conference, Secretary Andrus listed nine poin t s which he said must be faced in putting together a comprehens ive national water policy: --Sunset legislation should automatically deauthorize water projects which have been authorized for a number of years. --Increased cost sharing by the States and non-Federal entitities. --Cooperative efforts between the States and Federal Government must be undertaken to eliminate laws, rules, and institutions which hamper integrated water management. --Al l Federal programs should seek new methods of encouraging water conservation. --Quantification of reserved rights for Indian reser- vations and Federal lands is essential to rational planning. --Safety of water projects cannot be taken for granted . --Waste water reuse, artificial ground water recharge, minimum streamflows, and safe drinking water are primary objectives. --The 1973 principles and standards for planning water resource projects should be modified and serve as the framework for the water policy review and proposals. --The primary goal is conservation and more efficient use of water. The Secretary stated that water too often h as be en misall o c a ted, misused, and wasted and that it wi ll not be ea sy but it is essential that a new pol i cy be instituted. On the third day in response to President Carter's message to the conference delegates welcoming their initiatives and recommendations, the conference concluded with reports from the 2 workshops with emphasis on policy alternatives which should be considered by the administration as it seeks to develop a comprehensive national water policy . The letter sending the workshop reports to the President pointed out that many of the issues which emerged in the con- ference related to the themes in the President's message and Secretary Andrus' address. They included water allocation, the need for water conservation, and equitable financing of water resource projects. Also, the letter recognized that the demand on water resources is steadily increasing but that the nation's financial resources to deal with the water- management problems are limited. The conference underscored that there are conflicts of opinions on the approach to the use and management of water resources. Social values asso- ciated w~th water management, the roles that different levels of government should play, and the sharing of costs were among the major unresolved conflicts discussed. - .In summary, the conference concluded. that the answers to the water problems facing the nation would not corne easily. The conference provided an excellent opportunity to begin the review of our national water policy, and identified the key p r oblems and the range of policy alternatives available for dealing with those problems. It is interesting to note that the National Conference proceedings confirmed the significance and priorities of the water issues and problems discussed in the Water Program plan. Also , most of the issues to be covered under the President's Water Resources policy Reform Study are addressed in the Water Program Plan priority lines-of-effort. 3 CHAPTER 2 PURPOSE OF GAO SYMPOSIUM In recent years effective water resources planning, development, and management has become a paramount national priority. Man has come to realize that no resource is as fundamentally neces.sary to life itself as is water. Water is life's indispensible cornerstone. The delicate balance between life and death, growth and retardation, productivity and barrenness is hinged upon the presence or absence of this simple yet vital commodity. Without water, our world could not sustain life. Previously, man perceived water as an inexhaustible and unlimited resource. Settlements, towns, and cities arose along the shores of free - flowing streams and rivers. Indus- tries too flourished and prospered near abundant water supplies. Municipal, industrial, and agricultural water demands sky- rocketed while untapped, available water supplies rapidly decreased. It seems that only now--in the midst of a national drough·t crisis--has our nation awakened to the un- folding dilemma: water is an exhaustible and limited resource. Recognizing its responsibility to address this national issue, GAO developed a Water Program Plan which was released in April of this year. The plan discussed existing and emerging water issues, reviewed past GAO water audit activi- ties and issued reports, and established priority lines - of- effort and specific future assignments within each area. With the issuance of the Water Program Plan, the Office scheduled a Symposium to discuss and sharpen the water area : focus. The Symposium was held in conjunction with the 1977 National Conference on Water. Its purpose was to : - -familiarize the professional staff with the Water Program plan. - -discuss existing and evolving trends and problems in the water resources area. --develop audit work proposals for the issue area. --provide an open forum for discussing and exchanging ideas, concepts, and knowledge on a central theme . 4 The agenda of the GAG Symposium and the names of the participants are included in Appendix I . Based on informa - tion obtained from both the National Conference on Water and the Symposium forum discussions, each panel prepared a report . These reports are included in the next chapter. The views of the participants concerning the Symposium are summarized in another chapter. 5 CHAPTER 3 SYMPOSIUM PANEL REPORTS ON LINES- OF - EFFORT Each GAO Symposium participant was assigned to one of five panels; four of the panels discussed the Program Plan priority lines - of-effort. The fifth panel discussed the nonpriority lines -of-e ffort . The panels were to assess the validity of the respective lines - of -effort and determine their applicability to current water issues and problems. The panel reports provide the initial data for modifying the Water Program Plan. 6 PANEL REPORT FOR LI NE- OF-EFFORT il ARE EXISTING WATER RESOURCE PLANS AND PROGRAMS ADEQUATE TO MEET THE COMPETING DEMANDS FOR WATER USES? The GAO panel for Line-of- Effort ( LOE ) Number 1 agrees that the LOE is pertinent and will probabl y remai n the most important LOE for a long time . Several factors buttress this bel~ef: --Competing demands for water will continue indefinitely. Past demands and competition will never be totally resolv ed, and new demands and priorities will emerge. --Water project proposals and other water - related actions will continue surfacing. Antecedent to any decisionmaking, adequate programs and plans must be developed . --Water project funds will continue to be limited. To determine relative project priority and need, the demand for project assessment stud ie s will be great. The panel wishes to emphasize several points regarding th~s LOE : (1) Since the LOE is so broad, no individu al GAO assignment can or should be undertaken to assess the entire area. Rather, the Office should anal yze variou s planning components such as information bases, responsibility and other planning ingredients. (2) Planning aspects are inherently very broad and reflect a wide spectrum of perspectives . To evaluate such diverse plan- ning, GAO assignments will require substantia l resource invest- ments. (3) In view of and coupled with these factors, GAO management sh oul d recognize that since the is sues addressed by this LOE ar e frequently broad and not well defined, substantial GAO resource investment will not automatically ensure that end products will contain precise issue solutions. There is unanimous panel ag reement that the conference workshops and discussion directly addressed this LOE and rein- fo r ced its signif icance and timeliness. In most workshops, the following were mentioned as problems: 7 --Mismatch of funds versus needs and priorities. This included lack of funds for agenc~es responsible for planning. States/ basins with the greatest need are not receiv~ng priority funding. Conversely, some re- search funds are not being used (i.e ., EPA did not use $10 million in research funds under Public Law 92-523, the Safe Drink- ing Water Act. --Lack of adequate planning information. Points mentioned were (1) need for better U.S. Geological Survey data on storm runoff and groundwater, (2) standards for sed iment pollution tolerance, and (3) need to define "zero discharge" in Public Law 92-5 00 . Many workshops emphasized a crucial need to share planning information, such as through a clearinghouse. --Imbalance between structural and non-structural solutions to water problems. --Federal, State, and local plann ing organizations were hindered by inadequate funding, cooperation problems, and a lack of expertise. Also , some planning was broad-based while other plann~ng was narrow in its focus. --Our country needs a national water policy. Almost ceaseless debate occurred concerning what pr i ority components such a policy should contain. Finally, we believe that the planning prog r am ass~gnments and relative priorities are generally in line with our under- standing of national water issue s. Further, we believe t hat the following should be addressed by specific GAO assignments: --The need for a national water policy. Is there one? Is one needed? Who should ca rry i t out? What should it include? • --Lack of water program coordination among Federal agencies and between Feder al, State, and local organizations. Duplication of effort is apparent, and inadequate data interchange is obvious. 8 -- Progress of Federal agencies in using non - structural means to maximize water resource use. --Analysis of planning mechanisms to establish priority needs and to resolve conflicts among competing needs. For example, are there clear authorities to place water for energy needs in the proper perspective? If water for energy is a priority need, can and will it be given funding priority? --Relationship of water planning to land-use planning . These issues often conflict, and there are questions concerning how this conflict can be reconciled. Panel Members Carl Bannerman, CEO - Moderator Noel Lance, Los Angeles James Mikelson , Denver Lindsey Harwood , Norfolk Richard Gannon , Los Angeles 9 PANEL REPORT FOR LINE-OF-EFFORT #2 DO WATER AGENCIES AND INDUSTRY HAVE EFFECTIVE WATER CONSERVATION AND REUSE PROGRAMS WHICH REDUCE DEMAND AND MAKE MORE EFFICENT USE OF WATER SUPPLIES? Because of the Western States' drought crisis and the emerging national concern over o~r nation's decreasing water resources, the question of water conservation has risen to a prominent position in water resources discussions. The follow - ing is a summary of how the National Conference on Water re- lated to GAO's Water Program Plan line-of - effort concerning conservation. Conference attendees generally recognized the need for water conservation. We noted that Conference discussion focused on the need for and impact of conservation measures on the drought crisis. In addition , the Secretary of the Interior, Cecil D. Andrus, presented eight specific water policy reform recommendations at the conference , several of which involved water conservation. According to Secretary Andrus, water conservation reform is long overdue. During the proceedings, State representatives reported that past Federal assistance had been directed toward structural pro- grams for managing water re s ources . These same represen - tatives stated also that additional programs were needed to address non -s tructural water manageemment aspects as well. The conference discussions emphasized certain key factors which underscore the need for effective water con- servation programs. --The demand for water in our nation is outracing available supplies . - -The Administration is attempting to deemphasize the use of structural means for augmenting our nation ' s water supplies. --There is a void of Federal non - structural assistance programs. All of these factors and Secretary Andrus' emphasis on water conservation illustrate the importance of our LOE on water conservation and reuse. 10 Our panel agrees that water conservation and reuse are valuable water management tools. However, the panel also be - lieves that GAO must avoid blindly "jumping on the conservation bandwagon" because conservation activities may have negative as well as positive impacts which must be addressed. For example, conservation efforts in some communities have de- creased water flows through sewage treatment facilities; as a result, these facilities have been unable to function properly. It is our opinion that all water conser vation re - views must recognize and assess the potential for adverse consequences as well as the benefits gained. This panel con- cluded that GAO's impact in the area can be considerable and can provide valuable assistance to the Congress if our reviews proceed from such a perspective. We believe t hat water reuse may be a solution to some of the current and future water needs of our country and should be considered as a potential audit assignment topic. The use and acceptance of this activity, however, depends upon the adequacy of total available supplies to meet existing, pro- jected, and possibly unforeseen needs. For example, because of the high cost of fully treating wastewater, such water has been used primarily to displace some current water uses which do not require high quality water. Major categories of water to be evaluated for reuse include municipal wastewater, industrial process water, cool - ing water discharges, and agricultural wastewater. Major reuse applications to be evaluated include groundwater re - charge, industrial process and cooling water, energy conser- vation , irrigation, recreation, and possibly domestic potable supply. Wastewater reuse is one of the few water conservation areas not reviewed by GAO. Because of its potential impor- tance, wastewater reuse should be given emphasis during the current GAO water conservation overview. Panel Members Jeff Heil, CED - Moderator Philippe Darcy, San Francisco Donley Johnson, Chicago Robert McLoughlin, Washington James Van Blarcom, New York Joseph Kegel, Seattle 11 PANEL REPORT FOR LINE - OF - EFFORT *3 HOW CAN THE CONSTRAINTS OF WATER LAWS AND RIGHTS ON HEETING PRIORITY WI'.TER NEEDS BE EFFECTIVELY RESOLVED? Water laws and rights comprise the basic criteria for allocating water supplies among competing water demands. Encompassing codified State systems, Federal and State doc- trines, and court decrees, water laws and rights establish the basis for public and private water ownership and water quantity mangement and control. Both the State and the Federal governments share authority and jurisdiction in the area, but their respective responsibilities have not been clearlyestablisbed. The result has been competition, con- flict, and controversy. Accelerating demands for scarce water supplies in the Western States are causing increasing concern about the ade- quacy of existing water laws. Laws originally developed to encourage settlement of the West do not seem suited for solving today's and tommorrow's issues . A new mechanism may be needed to keep pace with the rapidly changing resour ce supply and demand situation. GAO's Water Program Plan addresses the question of water laws and rights under line - of-effort *3. The proceedings o f both the National Conference on Water and GI'.O' s \~ater Symposium reinforced the GAO plan to give this area priority audit consideration. Time and again, National Conference partici- pants expressed concern over water laws and rights problems, particularly the (1) uncertainties surrounding Federal Reserved Rights and Indian Reserved Rights , (2) the need to protect in-stre am social and economic values in water, and (3) the adequacy of State water laws and regulations. The current GI'.O water laws and rights assignment marks the initial office thrust in to this realm . While it would be premature at this time to assess the impact of the assignment, it is the GAO discussion panel's belief that such an audit is both opportune and worthwhile . Preliminary non-GAO obser - vations ha ¥ e tended to be quite favorable toward the ass i gn- ment ; and i n view of the concerns voiced at the National Conference on Water, we believe that the Water Program Plan LOE concerning water laws and rights is appropriately attuned to existing water resource issues and dilemnas. 12 Panel Members Harold Pichney, CEO - Moderator James Mansheim, San Francisco Walter Choruby, Seattle Robert Hartz, CEO Earl Ogolin, St . Louis 13 PANEL REPORT FOR LINE-OF-EFFORT *4 DO FEDERAL AGENCIES' BENEFIT-COST ANALYSES FULLY AND REALISTICALLY CONSIDER THE BENEFICIAL AND ADVERSE EFFECTS OF WATER RESOURCE PROJECTS? The panel considered the priority line-of-effort, "Do Federal agencies' benefit-cost analyses fu~ly and realist i cally consider the beneficial and adverse effects of water resource projects?," in light of presentations and debate at the 1977 National Water Conference. Cost-benefit analyses, per se, were not prominently dis- cussed at the National Conference, but the worthiness of water resource projects, which benefit-cost analyses purport to show, was an underlying theme. The conference brought to- gether those who strongly support structural solutions to water problems and those just as strongly opposed. Those who support projects have relied heavily on cost-benefit analyses to make their case in public and legislative forums. However, despite the exactness with which the results are displayed, they contain many arguable assumptions, inexact data, and are based on a narrow set of values. The past decade has seen an increase in organized oppo- sition to water resource projects . The opposition is splintered into many groups according to their special inter- est. Spokepersons for some groups at the conference empha- sized the environmental threat of water resource projects; others, the wastefulness of water encouraged by "Federal s u b- sidization; and; still others,. the wastefulness of the nation's economic resources devoted to the projects. The Administration's spokesman at the conference, Secretar y Andrus, touched upon these points of opposition and the threat, among others, of unchecked project construction to Federal fiscal reform. What contribution can GAO make with respect to agencies' cost- benefit analyses, which ha v e become institutionalize d in the project authorization process? In the "Water Program Plan" (April 1977), GAO established two high-priority assignments: 1. Survey of methodology and practices of various agencies for making benefit - cost anal y ses of pro- posed mUlti-purpose reservoir projects and impact on the benefit- cost ratios . 14 2. Survey of selected operating mult -purpose water resource projects to determ ne whether they are still serving realistic needs or whether project benefits can be enhanced . Our panel concurred that the conference reinforced cost- benefit analyses as a high priority line- of- effort and the need for the two high-priority surveys included in the Plan. In any issue, such as construction of water resource projects, that has become highly polarized, there is great value in an objective and balanced analysis that GAO is capable of pro- viding . This can be accomplished by reviewing the underlying assumptions used in agency- prepared analyses to determine their current validity, reviewing the validity of the data used, and reviewing its adherence to Principles and Standards prescribed by the u.S . Water Resources Council. The scope of our oversight should permit " us to confirm or reject, depending qpon the evidence, the .often-expressed opinion in the public sector that agencies' opportunities to manipulate cost-benefit analyses to justify projects, serving primarily narrow public interest and bureaucratic interests , is virtually unchecked. Our oversight should also provlae us an opportunity to consider whether non-structural alternatives to water resource projects have been adequately considered , a need often ex - pressed at the conference . Even though a proposed project might be proven cost beneficial under the cost- benefit methodology used, there may be more environmentally acceptable and less costly alternatives for accomplishing essentially the same goal. Examples may be more extensive use of ground - water supplies rather than impounding surface water, or using zoning restrictions to limit development in the flood plain rather than allowing development and then attempting to protect it through flood control works . Panel Members Charles Riche , CED - Moderator Kenneth Luecke, Kansas City Ernest Candilora, Dallas James Meissner, Denver Charles Chappell, Atlanta James Silvati, Cincinnati 15 PANEL REPORT FOR NON-PRIORITY LINES-OF-EFFORT #5-9 The GAO Water Program Plan includes five non-prior~ty lines-of-effort which reflect emerging or existing water is sues of importance but not of immediate urgency when the plan was prepared and when compared to the priority lines- of-effort. These LOEs range from the question of conjunctive water use to water supply and water quality program coor- dination and are as follows: LOE 5 -- Are water supply and water quality programs being effectively coordinated? LOE 6 -- Are water research programs making progress in developing technology and in finding new ways to increase the nation's water supply? LOE 7 -- Is conjunctive use of surface water with other sources adequately considered in meet - ing water needs? LOE 8 -- What are the problems impacting on the time l y efficient, and economical construction of water resource projects? LOE 9 -- Are cost-sharing requirements of Federal and federally assisted water resources projects and programs viable today; what are the con- siderations and issues? The panel members concluded that the Water Program non-priority LOE entitled "Are water supply and water quality progra~s bein~ eff~ctively ~oordinated?" should become a priority ' line-of-ef fort. Also, the LOE title should read "Are water supply and water quality programs being effect i vely integrated?" (emphasis added). Based on the National Confer- ence discussions, we believe that integrating water supply and water quality programs will become increasingly important as municipalities and industrial firms "clean up" their water because of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972. Two key questions relate to this clean-up effort: (1) is it feasible to reuse treated municipal and industr i al waste water; and (2) what use should be made of cleaned-up waterways? . In the first case, this panel believes that it is a waste of natural resources to permit treated municipal waste water to flow to the oceans. Since there is apparently no Federal policy gov.erning this issue, municipal waste-water reuse 16 has lagged as an alte.native water supply producing activity. Indust rial water r euse, conversely, requires indi vi dual f irm s to achieve higher and highe r treatment lev els based on technology yet without r egard to water con- servation. As an alternative, a Fede r al policy should be esta blished to promote industrial waste water reuse for alleviating the tremendous industrial water demand . Regard- ing the second question, there does not appear to be a Federal pol i cy direc t ing our nation's use of cleaned-up waterways . However, in vi ew of the increasing competion for a diminishing resour ce supply, this i ssue must be addressed . The panel also agrees that line-of effort #9 entitled " Are cost-sharing requirements of Federal and federally ass i sted water resources proje cts and programs v i able today: What a r e the considerations and issues? " should be moved up to #6 on the Water Prog r am Plan LOE list. Also, water qua li ty cost-sharing arrangements should be anal yz ed for comparative purposes. This line- of- effort would have to be closely coordinated with the CED-EPA audit site. Work under- ta ken under the #6 LOE entitled "Are water research programs making prog r ess in developing technolog y and ~n finding new ways to increase the Na t ion's water supply?" should be per - formed during ongoing program reviews. The panel believes that existing GAO staff expertise can be more effectively used by in tegrating research and development program analysis wi th other agenc y program evaluations. Panel Members Richard Woods, CED - Moderator Joseph Faley, OPP John Gellner, Detroit Roy Kirk, CED Clifton Kuchinski, Boston Jack Arnold, Norfolk 17 CHAPTER 4 SUMMARY OF SYMPOSIUM PARTICIPANTS' VIEWS The following :'s a summary of replies received from Symposium part i cipants concern:'ng the Symposium's object: ves, suggestions for improv i ng future symposia, and future audit work in t he Water Program area. These responses were obta i ned from a quest i onna i re provided to all Sympos:um participants. Quest i on 1: Do you believe the Conferen c e- Symposium achieved its objectives of: ( a ) informing GAO staff of water resources problems and issues and water management approaches and alternative s ? If not, please d:'scuss. (b) famil:arizing GAO staff with the Water Issue Area Program Plan and its purposes? (c) prov:ding the background and a forum to d i scuss our current and future audit work as well as to cons i der additional l i nes- of- effort and future assignments? If not, please discuss. Answer: ( a ) Most of the attendees stated that the Conference/ Symposium succeeded i n :nform ing them of water resources problems and issu e s and water management approaches and alte rna- t i ves . Negativ e responses tended to focus on the format and program . of the National Conference on Water . ( b ) A near consensus of part i c:'pants stated t hat the Sympos i um was a v i able vehicle for p ro- v i d:ng Water Program Plan or:'entat i on. Many also sa:d that per i od i c symposia of this nature would be extremel y beneficial to both field and headquarters staff; th ro ugh suc h gather i ngs, water pr og r am personnel co uld ( 1 ) e xchange ideas and re late deve lo pments of i nteres t i n t he wate r area and ( 2 ) cou l d help mold the Water Program Plan into a dynam i c and continuousl y e v ol vi ng documen t . 18 ( c) Again, the responses were almost unanimousl y post i ve; most felt that the Water Program Plan discuss i on forum was the key to Symposium success. However, many Symposium partici- pants felt that more time should have been allotted for discussing existing and future water assignments, program plan lines- of - effort, and the prior i t y status of these l i nes-of-effort Question 2: Do you believe a GAO piggyback symposium on a national conference, rather than a GAO- sponsored symposium alone, is a more desir - able arrangement to become informed of national problems, their implications , and proposals and ideas to address such matters? If not , please discuss. Answer: . The majority of respondents indicated that the "piggyback" concept was beneficial. However, several concerns were voiced; first by allying GAO's activity with a national conference, GAO sacrifices control over the conference content and proceedings. What transpires at the conference mayor may not be useful to GAO. Second, past GAO- sponsored symposiums have been successful; by exerting more direct control over symposium develop- ment, it is much easier to tailor both content and proceedings . Question 3: In what specific ways do you believe future symposia could be improved? (Consider format, location, etc . ) Answer : In responding to this question, attendee comments and suggestions tended to focus on the symposium format and timeframe. Over- all, the Symposium participants indicated that future s ymposia should be more formally structured, should have a somewhat longer duration , and should include water resource experts as speakers. The most frequent suggestions were: -- Specific job assignment and panel dis- cussion time should be increased . 19 --The symposium should emphasize major problems and issues which are currently developing. --If piggybacking with a national confer - ence, the symposium site should not be different than the conference site. --If the sympos:um occurs alone, the loca- tion should be neutral and easily acces- s ible to both Jield and headquarters representatives. --Wate r resources experts should be brought in as speakers to discuss topical areas. 20 CHAPTER 5 PARTICIPANTS' SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE AUDIT WORK At the Symposium ' s conclusion, each participant was asked to suggest several future audit assignments for the water program area. Following is a listing of the partici- pants ' proposals. Many proposals directly relate to existing Program Plan lines - of - effort and assignments. These sugges- tions will be considered not only for updating and modifying the existing Program Plan , but also for setting the dire c tion of future Office water area audit activity. The proposed audit assignments are as follows: - - Compare structural and non-structural methods for obtaining water conservation . - - Perform a case study of past water development pro- jects to assess benefits actually realized from the projects versus the benefits originally proposed. - - Evaluate distribution of project benefits: who receive them, who should receive them, and are the benefits consistent with existing public policy? -- Develop an overview of potential alternatives to dam construction including conservation, recycling and reuse, off - stream storage, and desalinization, etc. --Assess the need for a water planning and use de c ision - making system to avoid crisis management. - - Survey the water needs problems and issues in the lower Mississippi River Valley. - - Study the potential of water reuse as an a l ternative water supply and conservation medium. - - Evaluate desalinization as a practical / potential method for augmenting existing water supplies . -- Interbasin transfers: are the y needed and can they be practicably developed? --Basin - wide water resources planning and management : is it needed and is it done? 21 - - Assess the benefit/ cost ratio for utility, effect iveness, and it s contr ibut ion to water resources plann ing and mangement. --Discuss, explain, and evaluate the implications of the safe yield concept . --Northeast Water Supply Study (NEWS) : its objectives, its accomplishments, and its problems. --Evaluate potential State/ Federal duplication ~n issu- ing permits under the Sect i on 404 permit program . --Need for a water conservation stud i es and data clearinghouse. --The Federal/State / local water use planning structure: can it be made more effective? --Case study of conjunctive water use and its implications . - -How effectively do various Federal water planning and research agencies communicate among themselves and beyond? --The extent to which Government subsidy and incentives can and / or do promote and encourage water conser vation on Federal projects. --A national water policy: can it be realistically achieved and is it needed? --Progress made on military installatio ns and in military activities for achieving water conservation. • --Existing water resource . inventories: are they ade- quate for planning purposes? --Analysis of mechan i sms available to resolve competition for water among compet i ng municipalities. -- Explore the economic and technical feasibility of aug- menting water suppl ies in the major Southwest River Bas in s through interba sin water transfers . --Problems in providing adequate water supplies to rural communities. 22 --Review the problems associated with providing qual:ty surface water to Mexico and Mexican pumping of groundwater along the U.S.-Mex ican border. --Evaluate water-saving measures implemented by private industry . --Assess the efficiency of city water distribution systems. --Evaluate research and development activ i ties and compare and contrast techniques for enhancing water use efficiency. 23 APPENDIX I APPENDI X I GAO SYMPOSIUM AGENDA WATER ISSUE AREA Wednesday, May 25, 1977 2:00 p.m. Opening remarks by Max Hirschhorn 2 : 15 p.m. to Line- of-E ffort #1 4:15 p.m. Panel: Carl Bannerman, CED - Moderator James Mikelson, Denver Richard Gannon, Los Angeles Noel Lance, Los Angeles Lindsey Harwood, Norfolk 3:15 p.m . to Line-of-Effort #2 4:15 p.m . Panel: Jeff Heil , CED - Moderator Donley Johnson, Chicago James Van Blarcom, New York Ph i l i ppe Darcy, San Franc i sco Robert McLoughlin, washington Joseph Kegel, Seattle 4:15 p.m. to BREAK 4:30 p.m. 4:30 p.m. to Line-of-Effort ~3 5:15 p .m. Panel: Harold pichney, CED - Moderator Robert Hartz, CED Walter Choruby, Seattle James Mansheim, San Francisco Earl Ogolin , St. Louis 5:15 p.m. to Line-of-Effort #4 6 :00 p.m. Panel : Ch arles Riche, CED - Mode r ator James Silvati, Cincinnati Ernest Candilora, Dallas Kenneth Luecke, Kansas Ci ty James Meissner, Denver Charles Chappell, Atlanta 24 APPENDIX I APPENDIX I Thursday, May 26, 1977 8 :3 0 a.m. to Lines-of-Effort #5 through 19 9:45 a.m. Panel: Ri chard J . Woods , CEO - Moderator John Gellner, Detroit Clifton Kuchinski, Boston Joseph Fale y , OPP ROY Kirk , CEO Jack Arnold, Norfolk 9 : 45 a.m. to Individual panel discussions and write- 11: 30 a.m. ups of conclus ions re ac hed . (Each panel will meet separately.) 11 : 30 a.m. to Panel pre sentat ion of summaries and 12:30 p.m. conc lusion s (Abou t 5 to 10 minutes for a represen tat ive from each panel) 25
Report on GAO Water Program Symposium
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-09-27.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)