Sociological Aspects of Water Development

Decisions to develop water resources systems so far have been primarily taken on the basis of engineering and economic feasibilities. Very rarely, if ever, sociological feasibility has been considered, except in a very broad sense. Planning is for the people, and it should improve the quality of life. Hence, it is argued that water resources decisions ought to be primarily social ones, and that the success or failure of any resource development should not only be judged by its technoeconomic excellence but also by its impact on people. Water resources planning process is discussed, and the difficulties associated with the evaluation of sociological feasibility of projects are enumerated. The social consequences of water development projects are traced through planning, construction, operation and management impacts. Finally, it is suggested that the foremost factor in the success of any water management program is the public understanding and acceptance of that program.

By Asit K. Biswas and Robert W. Durie, 1971. Article published in Water Resources Bulletin, Volume 7, Number 6, pages 1137-1143.

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