Since it was issued in 1983, the federal document Economic and Environmental Principles and Guidelines for Water and Related Land Resources Implementation Studies (the P&G) has guided water resources project planning for four federal agencies. Since the early 1980s, however, there have been many changes in the national water resources planning landscape. In light of these developments, many groups -- including committees of the National Research Council -- have recommended that the P&G be reviewed and modernized. In 2007 the U.S. Congress directed the Secretary of the Army to revise the P&G. Congress also directed the Secretary to consult with other entities, including the National Academy of Sciences. The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released its "Proposed National Objectives, Principles and Standards for Water and Related Resources Implementation Studies" in December, 2009. The present report from the National Research Council constitutes a review of the 2009 document issued by the CEQ.
An effort to modernize the P&G document so that it reflects contemporary planning methods and principles, and today's societal and economic priorities, is timely. However, as this report explains, the 2009 proposed revisions lack clarity and consistency in several respects. Given that the 2009 document represents only a partial revision to the P&G document, and given several areas of ambiguity and incompleteness in the 2009 proposed revisions, detailed advice on specific planning procedures at this point would be premature. As CEQ proceeds with further revisions to the P&G document, clarification and specification in these areas detailed below will be necessary for the document to be of value to CEQ and the federal agencies that will use the document in decision making.