SELC to serve on focus panels for Alabama’s first statewide water plan

Developing a statewide water plan will allow Alabama to better manage the needs of its many water users, which includes agricultural irrigation as shown on this Huntsville farm. (© Adam Campbell)

Starting this week, SELC and our Alabama partners will be weighing in on focus panel groups to develop water planning policies, a process that will ultimately inform Alabama’s first comprehensive water management plan.

Appointed by Governor Bentley, members on the various focus area panels were asked to participate based on their expertise in water resource issues, including:

  • local and regional planning
  • protecting instream flow
  • certificates of use, permits, and interbasin transfers
  • riparian rights and other legal issues,
  • water conservation, efficiency, and reuse.

Focus panel members will deliberate these key issues and submit recommendations for water management to a group of state agencies called the Alabama Water Agencies Working Group (AWAWG).

Senior Attorney Gil Rogers will serve on the riparian rights and other legal issues panel, attending the group’s first meeting today. From SELC’s Birmingham office, Staff Attorney Sarah Stokes will serve on the water conservation, efficiency, and reuse panel starting October 7th, and Managing Attorney Keith Johnston will serve on the certificates of use, permits, and interbasin transfers panel starting October 20th.

As the only state involved in the tri-state water wars without a water plan, SELC and our partners at Alabama Rivers Alliance, other conservation groups, and water users statewide have long advocated for developing a plan in order to strengthen Alabama’s position and negotiate the state’s water needs while improving the health of its water resources.

“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to participate in these important discussions and work with some of the most respected voices in the water planning community,” said SELC’s Sarah Stokes. “Our hope is that the ongoing planning work within the panels will lead to strong policy decisions so that Alabama has enough clean water, now and for the future.”

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