Institutional arrangements for watershed and basin management are diverse in form and pragmatic approach. they come in many shapes and sizes. Over the years they have reflected the status of American federalism and do so today. In other words, we seem to be at a crossroads, ready to drop some aspects of our ideas about management and to add others. The imperative for a centralized authority to manage a large basin system was never very strongly held and is presently fading. But the idea provided a standard against which to test eclectic reality. It may be replaces, in function of not in form, by widespread capacity to interpret the system and evaluate the impacts of the actions of others. This improved capacity to identify community interest may be translated into more effective support for federal and state programs to deal with the coordination of water functions--flood control, water supply, waste management, habitat enhancement, recreation, etc.--and translated into support for the evolution of intra-local organizations to provide management capacity and local implementation of the federal programs


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