With recurring droughts, a depressed economy, and ongoing disputes with Georgia over the use of our major river systems, protection of Alabama’s water resources has reached a critical point. Without a meaningful plan for the sustainable use of our state’s water resources, water will become the limiting factor for growth in Alabama and the health of our rivers will suffer as more and more stress is put on these valuable resources.
In order to move the state forward and ward off water grabs from our neighbors, Governor Bentley and the Joint Legislative Committee for Water Policy and Management under the leadership of Sen. Arthur Orr and Rep. Alan Boothe are working to develop a comprehensive water security plan for Alabama. We anticipate that these efforts will result in legislation early on in the upcoming session that will instruct the Alabama Office of Water Resources to engage in a two year planning process that will culminate with the presentation of a comprehensive water plan to the Legislature.
The 2012 Alabama State Legislative Session opened this week. The Alabama Rivers Alliance and the Southern Environmental Law Center have been working with environmental groups from across the state to ensure that this is the year Alabama leaders will begin developing a comprehensive water security plan for Alabama! We must make sure that any water policy and planning process is open to meaningful stakeholder participation and that the resulting comprehensive water security plan is sustainable and protective of our states aquatic resources.