Natural Resources – Alabama Water Management Plan

LWVAL Action Priority Level II - Monitoring occurs; action dependent on opportunity and available resources.

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LWVAL has taken a position on this bill:

thumbs_up_icon.jpgHB674 - Water management, Alabama Water Sustainability and Security Act created, development of comprehensive water management plan by Office of Water Resources, the Water Resources Council, and the Water Resources Commission, authorized, requirements of plan specified, burden of proof for withdrawal of water specified, Secs. 9-10B-5, 9-10B-16 am'd

Sponsor(s):  Representative Fincher

Summary/Synopsis:  Under existing law, the Alabama Office of Water Resources is the state agency responsible for coordinating the water resources of this state including the administration of programs for river basin management, river assessment, water supply assistance, water conservation, flood mapping, the National Flood Insurance Program, and water resources development.

This bill would create the Alabama Water Sustainability and Security Act to vest in the Office of Water Resources, the Water Resources Council, and the Water Resources Commission the  power and responsibility to develop and, subject to adoption by the Legislature, carry out a comprehensive water management plan and drought management strategies, to make recommendations for adoption of legislation as necessary for the implementation and execution of the comprehensive water plan, and to develop other plans and strategies as may be necessary for the management of the waters of the state.

This bill would require that the comprehensive water plan monitor and manage water withdrawals, protect minimum flows, manage interbasin transfers, include conservation and efficiency programs, and contain a regional decision-making structure.

This bill would modify the current Certificate of Use system to make the right to use water a matter of legal record, entitled to legal protection.

This bill also would authorize the Office of Water Resources to establish and convene planning advisory committees as necessary to assist in the formulation of the comprehensive water management plan.

League Action and Justification: LWVAL supports HB674. The LWVAL position on Natural Resources states: “LWV of Alabama supports measures to promote an environment beneficial to life through the protection of natural resources in the public interest. In agreement with the position of the LWVUS, the LWVAL believes that natural resources should be managed as interrelated parts of healthy ecosystems. Resources should be conserved and protected to assure their future availability. Pollution of these resources, especially air and water, should be controlled in order to preserve physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the environment and to protect public health.” This bill is supported by a statewide coalition of environmental groups, including League.

Bill Progress in Legislature:
4/10/2012: Read for the first time and referred to the
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