Natural Resources & Energy Policy - Water Resources

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

Click a bill to see sponsor(s), summary (including link to full text), League action and justification for that action, and progress of the bill through the legislative process.

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LWVAL has taken a position on this bill:

thumbs_up_icon.jpgSB367 - Water basin areas, defined in Alabama for purposes of water resource planning and management activities under the Alabama Water Resources Act

Sponsor(s): Senator Orr

Summary/Synopsis: This legislation defines the major watersheds in Alabama for the purposes of future data collection and water management. It identifies four watershed areas in the state at the "30,000 foot" level: Tennessee River watershed; Mobile Bay watershed and surrounding coastal areas; Coastal Plains; and the Chattahoochee River.

The reasoning behind the coastal plain grouping is that this area relies primarily on ground water aquifers that do not follow watershed boundaries. The Chattahoochee was singled out due to the ongoing ACF dispute. The greatest benefit from this bill is the official recognition of the Mobile Bay watershed.

League Action and Justification: Support

LWVAL believes that natural resources should be managed as interrelated parts of healthy ecosystems. And, due to the “particular environmental issues and the unique value of the Alabama Gulf Coast to the state, LWVAL supports increased attention to identifying adverse impacts on the coast by the ecosystems of the entire state and establishment of regulations and enforcement mechanisms to prevent or to mitigate those impacts”.

This bill is in no way a stand-in for a state water plan nor should this be how the state ultimately manages inter-basin transfers which should be considered on at least the sub-watershed level. However, the legislation is a starting place for discussions in the statehouse as water policy stakeholders continue to move toward a state water plan.

It is a good step toward managing water resources as interrelated parts of healthy ecosystems. It is supported by the Alabama Rivers Alliance, which has been working with the Governor's Alabama Water Agencies Working Group and Senator Orr to provide a definitional basis for future decisions affecting Alabama's water resources.

Bill Progress in Legislature:

03/17/2016: Read for the first time and referred to the Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy (T&E).
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