Problems Affecting Usefulness of the National Water Assessment

CED-77-50: Published: Mar 23, 1977. Publicly Released: Mar 23, 1977.

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The Water Resources Council is conducting the 1975 National Water Assessment in cooperation with Federal, State and regional agencies. Scheduled for completion in December 1977, the project should cost $6.8 million. Problems have appeared raising doubts about the reliability and usefulness of the assessment. The agencies involved have been unable to resolve some discrepancies in the water data and some have questioned the assessment's usefulness.

The assessment is designed to identify future national and regional water needs and compare Federal and State-regional viewpoints on such problems. The large discrepancies discovered when federally prepared data were compared with regional data developed because the accumulation of water supply and use data involves many factors, such as data sources, methodology, assumptions, and judgments, which can cause significantly different results.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Council should give full publicity and visibility to the objectives and intended uses of the 1975 assessment so that the final document is responsive, to the maximum extent possible, to the needs of the user agencies. The Council should reappraise the objectives of a periodic national assessment and the way it is carried out. It should also reappraise the methodology employed in developing national water data and improve Federal, State, and regional coordination in establishing a reliable database.

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