KWRRI Research Reports


The institutions responsible for water resources management in the United States have originated as political responses to major social issues. Each agency institutionalized a procedure for structuring and comparing alternatives in the formulation of its total program. Each agency originally sought to promote effective resolution of its social issue (flood control, development of arid lands, soil erosion, etc.), but more recent efforts have sought better coordination among agency practices through a common procedure largely derived from economic theory. Any procedure, however, varies in application with the interpretation and judgment of individual planners. Today, public pressures have brought political directives requiring consideration of the local and nationwide impacts of projects that occur through direct, indirect, and secondary means in the spheres of economic, social and environmental effects.

The body of the study reviews fourteen specific impact issues with the goals of providing planners a methodology for dealing with each one and of providing the theoretically inclined a basis for improving each methodology. The issues are reservoir effects on local property values, reservoir effects on the economy of the local county, changes in income and employment patterns around large reservoirs, patterns of land use change around reservoirs, reservoir effects on revenues and expenditures of local government, reservoir recreation benefits, application of marginal economic analysis to reservoir recreation planning, economic value of natural areas for recreational hunting, for stream fishing, the personal value of real property to its owner, reservoir project caused income redistribution, achievement of more flexible procedures for reservoir operation in order to match changes in demand for project output with time, estimation of flood damages by the time pattern in which they occur, and operation of reservoir systems for flood control. Each study ls presented in detail in a referenced report, and this report discusses the significance of the findings of the studies, individually and as a group.

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This research report serves as a technical completion report for a research project entitled "The Economic Impact of Flood Control Reservoirs" sponsored by the University of Kentucky Water Resources Institute and financially supported largely by funds provided by the United States Department of the Interior as authorized under the Water Resources Research Act of 1964, Public Law 88-379, as Office of Water Resources Research Project No. A-006-KY. Some financial help was also obtained from the Louisville and Huntington District Offices of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.