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Letter to Department and Agency Heads on the Report of the Water Resources Policy Commission.

March 14, 1951

My dear_____________:

The final volume of the report and recommendations of the Water Resources Policy Commission, which I appointed in January 1950, has now been published. Copies of this report have been made available to you. The Commission has clearly done a very thorough job, and its report and recommendations should be extremely helpful to all

of us.

It is my intention, after careful review of the report and recommendations, to take such administrative actions and to submit to the Congress such legislative recommendations as seem appropriate from time to time. With this purpose in mind, I have asked the Director of the Bureau of the Budget to take charge of the staff work incident to this review. The Director will communicate with you in a short time regarding the arrangements for undertaking this task, including the designation of particular individuals to represent your Department and to work with him on this matter.

The Commission was appointed because a need had developed over the past several years for careful reexamination of our national water resources policies and related land use problems. The report thus concerns basic policies underlying the Federal Government's responsibilities in this field, rather than recommendations for or against specific projects. Since the Commission was appointed the United States has embarked upon an expanded defense program which in some areas will place even greater demands upon these land and water resources especially in connection with hydro-electric power. This defense work should go forward as fast as practicable, but it must proceed with due regard for the long-range objective of conserving and developing our water resources for all their values, for the benefit of all the people. The report should prove a valuable guide in helping to keep this long-range objective in mind.

In many public statements, I have stressed the fact that accomplishment of this objective requires the combined efforts of Federal, State and local governments, as well as private interests, and I have emphasized the importance of carrying out the Federal Government's share of this task in a manner which will reflect the fullest participation and collaboration of the people of the areas most directly affected. I know that you have borne these considerations in mind in your administration of the programs in your charge, but I hope that in your study of the report you will pay particular attention to these problems--including the problem of striking an appropriate balance in achieving both a local voice in these matters and responsible administration of those functions which are properly the role of the Federal Government.

Sincerely yours,


Note: This is the text of identical letters sent to the Secretaries of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, and Commerce; the Chairman, Federal Power Commission; and the Administrator, Federal Security Administration.

The report of the President's Water Resources Policy Commission was printed in three volumes: "A Water Policy for the American People," "Ten Rivers in America's Future," and "Water Resources Law" (445, 801, and 777 pp.; Government Printing Office: 1950).

The President's letter was released in Key West, Fla.

For the President's letter to the Chairman of the Commission requesting a study of national water resources, see 1950 volume, this series, Item 1. See also Item 306 of that volume.

Harry S. Truman, Letter to Department and Agency Heads on the Report of the Water Resources Policy Commission. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230284

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