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The William E. Warne Papers document the breadth and duration of Warne's multifaceted career as a leading federal and California state official specializing in water reclamation, water resource issues, natural resources, and international as well as domestic development; as a diplomat directing U. S. economic and technical development programs in the Middle East, in Asia, and in Latin America; as a prolific writer and researcher focusing on water reclamation and natural resources and on international development and technical assistance; and as a consultant in water and natural resources policy. The collection comprises primarily correspondence; reports; articles; speeches; and photographs detailing Warne's service for the U. S. Department of the Interior, including in his roles as assistant secretary from 1947-1951 and as assistant commissioner for the Bureau of Reclamation from 1943-1947; his work directing the Point Four Programs in Iran and Brazil and the United Nations Command in Korea in the 1950s; his positions heading the the California Departments of Fish and Game, Agriculture, and Water Resources, as well as the California Resources Agency, by appointment of Governor Edmund G. Brown in the 1960s; and his subsequent career as a water resources consultant from the 1960s on. The collection provides an in-depth view of evolving water and natural resources policy in the United States from the 1930s until the 1990s, and captures thinking around the development of major dams (including the Grand Coulee Dam; the Shasta Dam; and the Oroville Dam); of irrigation, flood control, and water transport systems; and of water resources in the Western United States and in California, especially as seen in the California State Water Project. The collection is equally of interest to researchers examining the United States' international development and technical assistance work, as seen in Warne's leadership roles in the 1950s in the Point Four Program in Iran, with the United States Operations Mission in Brazil, and with the United Nations Command in Korea, and in subsequent international development work that Warne undertook as a consultant, particularly on dams and other development projects in Iran as well as domestic water and energy issues.
William E. Warne was born near Seafield, Indiana in 1905 and died in 1996. When Warne was eight years old, the family moved to the Imperial Valley, California, where he grew up on a dairy farm that was irrigated using Colorado River Water. In 1927, Warned earned a degree in English from the University of California at Berkeley; he then worked as a reporter for several California newspapers and for the Associated Press from 1925-1935, becoming the AP's expert on reclamation, water, and irrigation. In 1935, Warne took a position with the U. S. Department of the Interior, where he worked for the Bureau of Reclamation as an editor and chief of information until 1942. Warne then went on to serve as assistant director of the Division of Power from 1942-1943, and as assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation from 1943-1947. In 1947, he was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior, a position he held until 1951. He served as United States Delegate at the Fourth World Power Conference in London in 1950. During his time with the Department of the Interior, Warne was responsible for several initiatives. He served as co-director (with Harlan H. Barrows) of the Columbia Basin Project Joint Investigations concerning the largest irrigation project in the West from 1939-1942, including the launch of the Grand Coulee Dam; coordinated the Missouri River Basin development program to promote irrigation and rural development (1944-1951); and headed the Federal Alaska Development Program (1947-1950) and the Navajo Indian Program. In 1951, Warne began directing technical assistance and economic development missions on behalf of the United States; this work included positions as country director of the Point Four Program in Iran (1951-1955); as director of the United States Operations Mission in Brazil (1955-1956); and as Economic Coordinator of the U. S. Command in Korea (1956-1959). Part of the Point Four Program involved planning for Iran's Dez dam. In Brazil, Warne directed studies of water resources development in that country's drought-stricken northeastern provinces. In Korea, Warne helped sponsor over 200 small rice irrigation projects. Warne's book about the Point Four Program, Mission for Peace: Point 4 in Iran, was published in 1956. Following his diplomatic service, by appointment from Governor Edmund ("Pat") Brown, Warne served as director of four state agencies in California: he was director of the California Department of Fish and Game from 1959-1960; the California Department of Agriculture from 1960-1961; and the California Department of Water Resources from 1961-1967; he was also the first administrator for the California Resources Agency (1961-1962), where he began coordinating water resources programs throughout the state. As Director of Water Resources for California, he played a critical role in the launch of the California State Water Project, the largest state-built water storage and conveyance system, formulating its facilities, initiating their construction, and shepherding the project through the state legislature in its critical early years. During this time, Warne also was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to serve as a member of the Federal Water Pollution Control Board, a seat he held from 1962-1965. To honor Warne's achievements, the Department of Water Resources dedicated its power plant at Pyramid Lake to him; the plant is named the William E. Warne Powerplant. In 1967, Warne took a position as a staff consultant in water resources with the Development and Resources Corporation of New York; he served as Vice President for Water Resources with this company from 1967-1969. While in this position, he was project manager for the Khuzestand Development Project and the Dez Irrigation Project in Iran. In 1967, he also gave lectures in water resources for the University of California-Davis's Regents Lecture Series. In 1968, Warne was elected to the National Academy of Public Administration, where he served for seven years as chair of the Academy's Environmental and Resources Committee, including on panels on energy and nuclear plant siting problems. Warne served on many commissions and boards relating to water, development, and pollution control. In 1969, he began a career as a private consultant, working on water supply and other projects in several states and countries, and in 1973, he became president of William E. Warne Associates, Inc. He served for six years on the California Water Quality Control Board, and for two terms as President of the National Water Supply Improvement Association, which advocates water desalination; in addition, he served on the board of California Association of Reclamation Agencies of Water (CAREW), a group concerned with water reclamation and reuse. Projects included consulting on the state water plan for the state of Washington and on economic development in Eastern Montana; proposing a statewide water resources study for the state of Minnesota; serving as advisor for the Five-Year Program for development of Egypt's Western Desert and as technical assistance expert in groundwater management and use for Argentina; and other consulting work in Iran, Pakistan, Vietnam, Morocco, Cyprus, Turkey, and Korea. In California, he also served as consultant for the Orange County Water District. Along with Mission for Peace, Warne wrote the book, Bureau of Reclamation (1973), as well as scores of articles, reports, and studies. Writings include reports written in his capacity as a water resources consultant, including "Comparative Review, Analysis and Evaluation of the Pacific Southwest's Water Resources Study, Part I and Part II" (1971); "General Petroleum Company (Cairo, Egypt): A Proposal of a Five-Year Program to Begin New Developments in Egypt's Western Desert Using Waters of the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer" (1977); and "A Proposal for a Comprehensive Plan for Desalination and Total Water Management in support of Community Development and New Agricultural Development with which to Stabilize the Energy and Industrial Parks in the Bandar Abbas Area of Iran" (1975), to name but a few titles and topics. Throughout his career, Warne wrote prolifically for journals and magazines, focusing especially on water development in California and the West and on desalinization. In circa 1986, Warne bought Geothermal Report, a newsletter that he considered to be, along with Water Desalination Report, the only running record of these technologies involving energy, water, and the West.
126 boxes 78 linear ft
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
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