Is there political will for water plan?
Kent Faulk of the Birmingham News provided an analysis of the causes of the stalled statewide water plan that has been kicked around the past few years.
State leaders and water utilities are long on excuses, but short on answers when it comes to water planning. Since 1990, Alabama has been engaged with Georgia (and Florida) on the water wars – a battle for who gets water out of the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa basin and the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin. Georgia has spent the last two decades coming up with water flow policies, watershed planning districts, water withdrawal policies, and most recently, a statewide water plan.
Alabama has, well, done nothing.
That has forced state legislators, especially Jeff McLaughlin, D-Guntersville, to develop piecemeal planning in a county by county fashion. Several years ago, he introduced and passed legislation that would protect water transfers from the Tennessee in his home county of Marshall. Representatives and Senators along the Tennessee River have followed suit, protecting the entire length of the river in Alabama from interbasin transfers.
The drought continues to grip the state, but water authorities, the Alabama Water Resources Commission, and elected officials can’t seem to make this a priority. When the Water Wars goes to those nine men and women in black robes in DC, Alabama is going to be left high and dry because we haven’t gotten our water house in order.
Issue of statewide water plan shelved – Birmingham News