Phoenix Area Office - Programs & Activities

Water Resource Planning

   Authorizations and Objectives

   The Planning Process

   Studies and Assistance

   Authorizations and Objectives for Water Resource Planning

  • Contribute to National Economic Development consistent with protecting the environment.
  • Implement a structured approach to water resource problem solving.
  • Ensure use of a rational framework for sound decision making.
  • The Reclamation Act of 1902 authorizes the Bureau of Reclamation to conduct Appraisal Studies, Special Studies, and Investigations.
  • Specific Congressional authorization is required for a Feasibility Study unless the Feasibility Study is for wastewater reclamation and reuse, which are authorized by Public Law 102-575, Title XVI  

   The Planning Process

   The planning process usually encompasses the following six steps:
  1. Identify problems and opportunities as they relate to Federal and specific study objectives.
  2. Inventory the current and foreseeable physical, demographic, economic and social factors relevant to the problems and opportunities.
  3. Formulate alternatives that identify specific ways to achieve the objectives within applicable constraints.
  4. Evaluate the effects of each alternative on the relevant physical, demographic, economic and social conditions.
  5. Compare the alternatives (including no action) against each other, with emphasis on the effects that will have the most influence in the decision-making process.
  6. Select the alternative(s) shown to be preferable to taking no action or make a decision to take no action.

   Studies and Assistance
  • Technical Assistance - Reclamation can provide data, technical knowledge, and expertise to aid in conservation and allocation of natural resources. Reclamation can provide assistance in the technical, evaluation, and management phases of water resource program efforts and projects. 
  • General Investigations Program - Helps organizations and groups identify and formulate a plan to develop new water supplies from traditional sources (such as surface water and ground water) and ways to deliver existing supplies to new service areas. Assists in formulating realistic water management plans by defining the physical operation of watersheds and how they can be managed to meet the needs of inhabitants. 
  • Appraisal Study - A brief investigation (typically about one year) to determine whether to proceed to a feasibility study. An Appraisal Study uses existing data and information and identifies plans to meet current and projected objectives. Appraisal Studies present an array of options that have been screened and evaluated to justify potential Federal involvement, and identify at least one potential solution.
  • Feasibility Study - A detailed investigation authorized by law or Congress to determine the desirability of seeking Congressional authorization to implement a project. Feasibility Studies require a detailed Environmental Impact Study pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act and other related statues.

   Moving from an Appraisal Study to a Feasibility Study to a Project requires a completed Appraisal report,
   authorization to conduct a Feasibility Study, Congressional support, and budgetary appropriations.

   Contact :

   For more information, please call the Phoenix Area Office, Program Development Division,
   at 623-773-6270.

Last Updated: 7/8/15