Georgia Water/Best Practices/Planning/Regional

Integrated Regional Water Resources Planning

The purpose of the planning process is to identify the "best" plan, using a fair procedure for defining and formulating what is "best". Planning is contentious because implemented plans will change the distribution of advantages and disadvantages (such as money and resource access) among various groups. Using a clearly outlined planning procedure that is recognized as fair by all affected groups can reduce contentiousness and improve the planning outcome.
This Best Practice page outlines recommended steps for a fair and effective water planning process. It is based on professional planning practice, as previously outlined in the "Principles and Guidelines" required for four federal (USA) agencies:

"The planning process consists of a series of steps that identifies or responds to problems and opportunities associated with the stated objective and specific State and local concerns, and culminates in the selection of a recommended plan. The process involves an orderly and systematic approach to making determinations and decisions at each step so that the interested public and decision-makers can be fully aware of: the basic assumptions employed; the data and information analyzed; the areas of risk and uncertainty; the reasons and rationales used; and the significant implications of each alternative plan."
  • Visioning (imagining desired future scenarios)
  • Establish Criteria and measures of goal achievement

(Includes steps to implement the alternative)

  • Identify pros-cons (types of effects to be considered)
  • Assess pros-cons and their probabilities (estimate magnitudes of the effects)
  • Appraise pros-cons (estimate importance or value of the effects)
  • Acknowledgment - This page uses the concepts, outline and much (verbatim) text from
Economic and Environmental Principles and Guidelines for Water and Related Land Resources Implementation Studies, U.S. Water Resources Council, Federal Register, March 10, 1983.