Alabama Rivers Alliance to host “Blue Ribbon” Water Policy Symposium in Birmingham

Alabama Rivers Alliance to host “Blue Ribbon” Water Policy Symposium in Birmingham


Contact:          Mitch Reid, 205-322-6395, [email protected]
Sarah Stokes, 205-745-3060, [email protected]

October 9th Symposium at Birmingham-Southern College will feature nationally recognized water planning experts

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.  On Thursday, October 9th, the Alabama Rivers Alliance will partner with the Southern Environmental Law Center to host a “Blue Ribbon” symposium focused on the future of water planning in Alabama at Birmingham Southern College’s Harbert Hall.

“Alabama is at a critical juncture in our efforts to protect the state’s water resources,” said Mitch Reid, program director at the Alabama Rivers Alliance. “Water wars with our neighboring states, increasingly painful droughts, and the ongoing degradation of our water systems are culminating in real challenges for our state.”

Alabama is currently the only state among its neighbors that does not have a water plan. The Alabama Rivers Alliance, which has long advocated a plan’s development, is working with partners across the state to host a series of symposia to keep stakeholders informed about the plan’s progress and to gather stakeholder input.

During Alabama Rivers Alliance’s recent water symposium in Tuscaloosa, stakeholders met with members of the governor’s Alabama Water Agencies Working Group, a group of state agencies that have been tasked to develop recommendations for a statewide water management plan. Alabama Water Agencies Working Group members also discussed the findings of their recent report,Mapping the Future of Alabama’s Water Resources Management: Policy Options and Recommendations, with the governor.

“Governor Bentley and the state agencies have shown leadership in creating momentum toward developing a water management plan for Alabama,” said Reid. “Our Birmingham symposium will give stakeholders and state policy makers the chance to hear from some of the most respected voices in the water planning community on what has worked in other states and what pitfalls we should avoid as we move toward a sustainable water plan for Alabama.”

“The more progress we make toward establishing a comprehensive water plan, the more we realize how important it is to have all stakeholders involved in the conversation,” said Sarah Stokes, attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “These symposia have been instrumental in giving stakeholders and policy makers the chance to have a voice in the conversation on water issues facing the state and to work collectively on solutions.”

Participants at the Birmingham symposium will hear from a panel of top water resource planning experts from around the nation, including Professor Joseph Dellapenna, author of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Regulated Riparian Model Water Code; Jenny Hoffner, Senior Director of American Rivers’ Clean Water Supply Program; Dan Sheer, President of Hydrologics, Inc.; and Dr. Aris Georgakakos, Director of the Georgia Water Resources Institute.

Participants will also hear from Senator Arthur Orr, R-Decatur and Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee for Water Policy and Management, and will see a presentation from Alabama photographer and filmmaker Hunter Nichols, whose newest documentary River Dreams will premiere at the upcoming Wild and Scenic Film Festival on October 19th in Birmingham.

“These meetings provide a unique opportunity for water users and policy makers to come together and discuss how to meet everyone’s needs while protecting the natural wonders of Alabama’s rivers and streams,” said Reid.  “If you care about water, you’ll definitely want to be in this discussion.”

The Alabama Rivers Alliance is grateful for the support of funders who have made this symposium possible: the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Hugh Kaul Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation, Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club, and American Rivers.

Registration to the symposium is free, and lunches will be provided for those who pre-register. Visit to register.

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About the Alabama Rivers Alliance
The Alabama Rivers Alliance is the statewide organization working to defend and restore Alabama’s rivers by advocating for smart water policy, organizing at the grassroots level, and teaching citizens how they can protect their water with in order to achieve healthy rivers, healthy people, and a healthy system of government for the state of Alabama.

About the Southern Environmental Law Center
The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC’s team of nearly 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use.