Alabama Water Agencies Working Group

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1 Alabama Water Agencies Working Group - - Overview and Update- - The Business of Water Phenix City, AL October 21, 2015 Patrick O Neil, Geological Survey of Alabama

2 Developing a Strategic Plan for National Championships It s all about the team It s all about the process

3 Alabama Water Agencies Working Group Ø Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Ø Alabama Department of Environmental Management Ø Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Ø Geological Survey of Alabama Ø Office of Water Resources Ø State Climatologist Created in 2011 AWAWG I - tasked April 2012 AWAWG II - tasked August 2014

4 Why Water Policy, Why Now?

5 How Does Water Policy Work?

6 Why Water Policy, Why Now? Ø Water Wars Ø Drought Water Grabs - Once You Have a Water War, You Always Have a Water War August 21, 2007 Ø Southeast Megaregions

7 Unknown Unknowns of Water Policy (or why a deliberative process is good) Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - - the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones. Donald Rumsfeld February 2002

8 Unintended Consequences (Flint River, Georgia) Agricultural irrigation uses 2 bgd of water per day. In contrast, industries and municipalities use only 18% of that.

9 Unintended Consequences (Flint River, Georgia) 242 p.

10 Unintended Consequences (Delta Region, Mississippi)

11 Unintended Consequences 27 mg / watershed / yr

12 Charge from Gov. Bentley April 2012 Ø Create a comprehensive database of Alabama s water resources. Ø Meet with stakeholders. Ø Recommend a statewide water management action plan and timetable by December 1, 2013.

13 Alabama Water Resource Issues Ø Water resources data, management, and assessment. Ø Instream flow Ø Water conservation, efficiency, and reuse Ø Economic development Ø Stakeholder and public education and outreach Ø Interbasin transfers Ø Riparian and other legal issues Ø Drought planning Ø Certificates of use/permitting Ø Interstate coordination

14 AWAWG Actions in Response: Ø Evaluated and analyzed Alabama s water issues and management strategies: Water Management Issues in Alabama (WMIA). Ø Compiled water resource data sources and identified additional data needs. Ø Reviewed the 1990 report, Water for a Quality of Life, and evaluated its implementation status. Ø Solicited and evaluated stakeholder comments to the WMIA report. Ø Recommended a process and action plan, the Alabama MAP Process, for moving water policy forward.

15 Stakeholder Commonalities Ø Water resource assessments, data collection systems, and database accessibility need to be improved and expanded. Ø Process must be transparent with broad collaborative support and participation by water users, stakeholders and agencies. Ø Economic concerns were important with a noted desires to not burden the economy. Ø There needs to be a commitment to funding at a level commensurate with the task of developing water policies and plans.

16 Stakeholder Divergences Ø The most strongly divergent views were on water withdrawal permitting. The efficacy of current riparian common law- based water management versus management flexibility and resource predictability of a regulated riparian system. Ø The importance of maintaining ecologically relevant instream flows with the caveat that any instream flow criteria should be clearly defined within an overall management mechanism. Ø The need to manage interbasin transfers (IBTs) was highlighted by some groups because of their fundamental role in water supply while others challenged using IBTs as a first strategy, relying on efficiency, conservation, and water reuse to offset future needs.

17 Alabama Water MAP Process

18 Alabama Water MAP Process

19 Water Resource Assessments Groundwater Aquifer Area (mi 2 ) Recharge Million g/d Gallons/d/mi 2 In/yr Tuscaloosa Group , Eutaw Formation , Cusseta Member Ripley Formation , Ripley Formation , Providence Formation , Clayton Formation , Nanafalia Formation , Lisbon and Tallahatta Formations 1, , Crystal River Formation 1, ,

20 Water Resource Assessments Surface Water

21 Water Resource Assessments Surface Water

22 Water Resource Assessments Surface Water

23 Water Resource Assessments Water Use

24 Water Resource Assessments Instream Flows Ecological Flow Instream Flow

25 Alabama Water MAP Process

26 Charge from Gov. Bentley August 2014 Ø Continue the Alabama Water Agencies Working Group. Ø Further engage stakeholders. Ø Prioritize data assessments. Ø Develop the focus panels.

27 Focus Area Panels (FAPs) Purpose of FAPs Ø Ø Ø Ø To bring partners together to discuss difficult issues. To develop written reports for the AWAWG addressing specific questions and issues. To meet within a short time frame ( 12 months). Process and partners approved through Governor s Office.

28 Focus Area Panels (FAPs) Riparian and Other Legal Issues Bennett Bearden, UA WPLI, Chair Instream Flows Pat O Neil, GSA, Chair Stan Cook, ADCNR, Vice- Chair Certificates of Use, Permitting, and Interbasin Transfers Tom Littlepage, ADECA- OWR, Chair Local and Regional Planning Glen Zorn, ADAI, Co- chair Marlon Cook, GSA, Co- Chair Water Conservation, Efficiency, and Reuse Cameron Handyside, UAH, Chair

29 Riparian and other Legal Issues Ø Prepare a comprehensive report on the significant riparian rights issues and other water law and policy issues in the State. Ø Deliberate whether changes are needed in law to accommodate current conditions and what process should be used. Ø To create a substantive and procedural framework for integrating changes, if any, into Alabama water policy and law.

30 Instream Flow Instream flow education Policy framework Research agenda Ø Establish standardized terminology and narrative criteria statement. Ø Compile relevant information with respect to current instream flows in Alabama. Ø Receive expert commentary relating flows to ecological integrity and from states that have instream flow policies and research activities.

31 Instream Flow Instream flow education Policy framework Research agenda Ø Identify an approach acceptable for including instream flow considerations in water management. Ø Create a research agenda to analyze questions and provide guidance for development of instream flow principals for Alabama.

32 Conservation, Efficiency, Reuse FAP Ø Goal of defining recommendations for developing incentives and disincentives (carrots and sticks) as they pertain to: o Conservation, efficiency, and reuse during drought or water scarcity as defined by the state. o Conservation, efficiency, and reuse during normal conditions.

33 Conservation, Efficiency, Reuse Ø Evaluating conservation, efficiency, and reuse within three sector classes: o Public supply and residential o Irrigation, livestock, aquaculture o Industrial, mining, thermoelectric power

34 Certificates of Use, Permitting, and Interbasin Transfer Ø What information is required to determine whether a more formal regulatory system is needed to manage water use? Ø What is the appropriate level of water management registration/permitting needed for the present? Is something different needed in the future? Ø Should this level be adaptive and vary with water capacity conditions?

35 Certificates of Use, Permitting, and Interbasin Transfer Ø How could a regulatory process work in combining the consideration of water use, interbasin transfers, and instream flow? Ø If IBTs are regulated, what is the appropriate basin scale?

36 Local/Regional Planning Ø What water resource related entities exist under current state law and what are their specific functions? (Such as Watershed Management Authorities, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Regional Planning Commissions, Irrigation Districts) Ø What type of local governance should be used to provide input into water quantity planning?

37 Local/Regional Planning Ø What are appropriate local/regional level activities needed to support statewide water resource planning and management and what is the appropriate organizational model for these activities? Ø What is the appropriate geographic scale for local/regional planning?

38 Stakeholder Outreach Purpose of Stakeholder Outreach Track 1. To inform and educate the public as to the need for and progress of water management planning. 2. To solicit input into the process. 3. Tools could include AWAWG website, symposia, surveys, workshops, social media, meetings with stakeholders. 4. Coordination with Permanent Joint Legislative Committee, AWRC, AEMC, Governor s Office.

39 Stakeholder Outreach

40 Water Resources Management Plan

41 Alabama MAP Process Monitor Rainfall, surface water, groundwater, water use, water quality, biological conditions, soil moisture, etc. Assess Analysis of availability and quality; compare current and future demand; understand instream flow needs. The circle signifies an adaptive feedback looping process Plan Review plans, policies, programs; recommend changes when needed; monitor performance of plans goals and objectives.

42 Where Are We Now? October 21, 2015

43 Questions

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