As part of the TVA Reservoir Operations Study, adopted in 2004, DHM conducted a survey of close to 4,000 residents in a seven-state area. Topics included the relative importance of electric power production, regional economic development, public recreation areas, and water and shoreline management.

We also dug deeper into the public’s priorities by conducting seven large group studies, using a scaled comparisons methodology to understand the tradeoffs residents were willing to make. The findings informed the TVA’s efforts to establish new operating policies for the Tennessee River and reservoir system that are more responsive to the public’s values—including increasing recreational opportunities while avoiding unacceptable effects on flood risk, water quality, and TVA electric power system costs.