Approved by the Energy, Environment and Water Policy Committee on January 14, 2016
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on March 15, 2016
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 9, 2016


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) urges all levels of governments and private enterprises to adopt a systems approach for planning, designing, constructing, financing, maintaining, and operating water resources infrastructure. This approach includes consideration of life cycle analyses, affected stakeholders, and cooperation on legislative and regulatory affairs across all levels of government. Further, research is needed on alternative evaluation tools to complement current financial models.

Planning for adaptive and resilient water resources infrastructure must employ a life-cycle approach that includes operational considerations as well as periodic project review. All infrastructure needs to be maintained, and design parameters will change based on climate variability or advancements in the field. Consideration should be given to strengthening infrastructure against extreme events to promote quicker recovery.


Many tools employed in water resources transcend political boundaries and roles. Water follows topography rather than political boundaries, leading to an overlapping of management and regulatory interests. Land-use decisions upstream will affect downstream water resources, and distributed solutions at the local level may be more effective than structured solutions. Cooperation is needed to transcend these barriers and create the best sustainable water resources projects. In the current economic environment, we must maximize the projects' effectiveness.

To be resilient, water resources projects require a systems-based approach that incorporates all tools and resources. Too often, perceived regulatory barriers or political boundaries dictate less effective and more expensive solutions at a cost to sound management of our water resources, and life and property protection.


The creation of resilient water resources infrastructure requires a systems approach, drawing upon all available stakeholders, tools, and resources. This approach results in a more comprehensive and cost-effective solution to water resources challenges.

This policy has worldwide application
ASCE Policy Statement 540
First Approved in 2013