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Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Transmitting Report of the President's Advisory Committee on Water Resources Policy.

January 17, 1956


I herewith transmit for the consideration of the Congress the report of the Advisory Committee on Water Resources Policy, consisting of the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Interior. The report is the result of a detailed study of our water problems and of the present powers and activities of the various Federal establishments engaged in water resource development. The Department of Commerce, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the Bureau of the Budget and other agencies including the Department of Justice participated in its preparation.

The policies set out in the report embody a framework within which the Federal Government, with state and local governments and other non-Federal interests, may cooperate to develop our water resources. These policies will reconcile many practices among Federal agencies that are now in conflict.

A planning organization along the lines proposed in the report will provide a continuing mechanism for settling unresolved problems that are not specifically covered in it or that may arise in the future. The report recognizes fully the responsibilities of the Federal Government for leadership, guidance and action in this field. At the same time, it recognizes that there are a multitude of water developments which are more appropriate for regional, state or local activity.

The report points out that the principles which recognize water rights as property fights should be accepted, and that determinations as to disposition of water should recognize such rights. It recommends that a study be made under the leadership of the Federal Government in collaboration with the States and local entities with reference to property rights to water and the social and economic development of the Nation and the area.

Set forth in the report is a pattern for the widest possible public participation in water resources projects. Organizational changes are recommended to coordinate more closely Federal and non-Federal activity and to make possible more effective Executive guidance. The intent of these proposed changes is to provide the states and local water resources agencies a more adequate voice in the planning and development of projects and facilitate joint participation by all of the affected Federal interests. By this type of cooperative effort we should be assured that all possible uses of water are adequately considered.

The policies we adopt for the development of our water resources will have a profound effect in the years to come upon our domestic, agricultural and industrial economy. I commend the fundamental purposes and objectives of this report, and I earnestly recommend that the Congress give prompt attention to its proposals.



Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Richard M. Nixon, President of the Senate, and the Honorable Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The report of the President's Advisory Committee on Water Resources Policy is printed in House Document 315 (84th Cong., 2d sess.).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Transmitting Report of the President's Advisory Committee on Water Resources Policy. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232937

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