Next Steps in Alabama’s Water Policy
An Update from the Alabama Water Agencies Working Group as provided by Bennett Bearden, Special Counsel on Water Law and Policy to the Alabama Water Agencies Working Group (AWAWG) and Director of the Water Policy and Law Institute at The University of Alabama.
The current status of water resources management in Alabama reflects the fact that water resources are managed through a series of policies, laws, and regulations under the jurisdiction of multiple agencies without an integrated management framework. The Alabama Office of Water Resources (OWR) has responsibilities for administering the Alabama Water Use Reporting Program, water planning, drought response planning, floodplain management, hydrologic modeling of rivers and reservoirs, coordination of federal water resources funding, and providing technical support to interstate water negotiations and litigation. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) administers several water permitting, compliance, and enforcement programs, conducts water quality and biological monitoring and assessments, maintains a water quality and biological database, and coordinates a statewide stakeholder and public education and outreach effort focusing on water quality. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) has responsibilities for state land management as well as protection and enhancement of fish and wildlife resources. They also serve as the lead natural resource trustee for the State. The Geological Survey of Alabama (GSA) conducts water and other natural resources investigations, including but not limited to, surface-water hydrology and groundwater hydrogeology, water and biological resource assessments, and serves as the State groundwater trustee. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (AGI) provides regulatory control over product, business entities, movement, and application of goods and services for which applicable state and federal law exists and works to initiate and support economic development activities including the use of water in the extensive agribusiness sector. In addition, OWR, ADEM, ADCNR, and GSA have a statutory advisory role to the Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Water Policy and Management (PJLCWPM). See More Here
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