Date of Award

Spring 1997

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Management

Committee Director

Leonard Ruchelman

Committee Member

Gail Johnson

Committee Member

John C. Munday, Jr.


The purpose of this case study is to analyze the perceptions of city council members in formulating and implementing policy on the Lake Gaston Water Supply Project in Virginia and North Carolina. A comparison of the perceptions of twenty-three members of three city councils: Henderson, North Carolina; Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina; and Virginia Beach, Virginia serves as the basis for analysis. Their perceptions of the issues and how they view other actors in the intergovernmental arena, within the context of the Lake Gaston Water Supply Project.

Specifically, the research examines how city council members view (1) water-policy issues, (2) the positions of council members, city councils, and interest groups, (3) the position of key state actors, and (4) the positions of federal actors as they pertain to the Lake Gaston Water Supply Project.

It was found that local policy-making is highly fragmented and not easily directed. Proceeding through the intergovernmental maze is a necessary councilmanic activity. Turf battles, bureaucratic red tape, and communication failures have all contributed to long delays in resolving persisting issue of satisfying the water supply needs of Virginia Beach. The study demonstrates how conflict results when attempts are made to meet the growing water needs of urbanizing areas--an ever more critical urban policy concern.