Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Utah State University Faculty Honor Lectures


The Faculty Association, Utah State University

Publication Date



Today we hear a lot about the "quality of life" and the "quality of the environment," two terms that everyone understands, but as yet no one has defined. Like others, I will not attempt a definition but introduce my subject by saying that water is intimately tied up with both our life and our environment, and its management has a profound effect for good or bad, depending upon the point of view. Today also, clean water and anti-pollution are popular crusades. Someone or something has to be responsible and engineering and science are convenient scapegoats. Considerable emotionalism is involved and there is need to inject some element of reason so as to approach the water problems of the day in a rational way. As an engineer, I am undoubtedly biased, yet except for engineers I see no one really doing anything constructive about the problems except to make a lot of noise, disregard any responsibility, and suggest that the government should make everything illegal. In the meantime, engineers go about building the necessary flood control works, water treatment plants and control systems as they have done for decades to eliminate or reduce the hazards that nature and the society have imposed on the water resource. In the light of present day knowledge it is apparent that engineers, like everyone else, have made many mistakes in the past. Therefore, my major purpose is not to vindicate the engineers but to outline some of the conflicts in water management and encourage an informed approach to the solution of the many problems


This work made publicly available electronically on August 5, 2011.