sions area for the Corps in 1996 and has been the main focus of new construction.

Large portions of the Corps’ water resources infrastructure were built in the first half of the twentieth century and are experiencing various stages of decay and disrepair. Project maintenance and rehabilitation are thus high priority needs for Corps water infrastructure. Funding streams in the U.S. federal budget over the past 20 years consistently have been inadequate to maintain all of this infrastructure at acceptable levels of performance and efficiency. In instances where the Corps shares maintenance responsibilities with a nonfederal partner (e.g., many of the flood risk management projects built by the Corps), local or state funds are less available than in recent past years. The water resources infrastructure of the Corps of Engineers thus is wearing out faster than it is being replaced or rehabilitated. Estimated to have a value of $237 billion in the 1980s, the estimated value of that infrastructure today is approximately $164 billion (Calvert, 2012).

These systemic modern challenges regarding the funding and maintenance of the Corps water infrastructure led the agency to request advice from the National Research Council (NRC) and its Water Science and Technology Board (WSTB). This report is from the NRC Committee on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Science, Engineering, and Planning. It is the second in a series of five reports from this committee. The committee issued its first report in 2011, providing an overview of the scope of the national water resources challenges facing the Corps, and it will issue three future reports on topics to be determined by the Corps and the NRC (NRC, 2011).

This report provides observations and advice in three broad areas related to Corps water resources infrastructure: (1) the federal Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) process, (2) determining priorities for operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation (OMR), and (3) options for improving OMR. Current approaches for budgeting and prioritizing OMR projects are presented and discussed, and the report examines the capacity of the annual budget processes of the WRDA and the Corps to address water resources infrastructure challenges.

In considering future priorities and directions for the Corps of Engineers, it is important to note that the Corps operates at the behest of the U.S. Congress and the executive branch. Many of this report’s findings and

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement