In March 1987, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Civil Works, suggested that a short history be written on the evolution of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986. The present history, longer and more comprehensive than either the author or the sponsor first envisioned, is the result. While focusing on the legislative evolution of one act, albeit an act of potentially substantial importance to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the history provides an overview of the development of federal water resources policy. It also helps define the many constituencies, political concerns, and bureaucratic activities that determine the federal role in water management. The work was done for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Institute for Water Resources, which oversaw the project. However, I assume complete responsibility for the research, writing, and interpretation.
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