oversight

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)

             REPORT ON GAO
I
l            WATER PROGRAM
             SYMPOSIUM




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•




      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
             •




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~-------------------------------                           -   -   - - - - - --   - - - -- -




                            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