FLORENCE — Alabama has some of the most abundant water resources in North America, but a combination of droughts and pressure for more water from outside the state is placing those resources in jeopardy.
A permanent legislative committee was formed after the 2007 drought to study a comprehensive, statewide water management plan.
So far, a plan has not been adopted, but federal court cases filed by Georgia and Florida for greater control of water use in rivers that flow through eastern Alabama have heightened the sense of urgency.
On Tuesday, the head of the Alabama Rivers Alliance, Cindy Lowry, will speak at a meeting of the Shoals Environmental Alliance. A reception will begin at 5 p.m. at Florence-Lauderdale Public Library, and the meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. The meeting is free to the public.
“These water wars with Georgia and Florida show that we need a comprehensive water plan,” said Charles Rose, president of the Shoals Environmental Alliance. “Alabama has been negligent in developing a plan.”
The sprawling metro Atlanta area is demanding more water to not only continue growing but to sustain its population and businesses.
North Georgia has been hard-hit by drought for several years, and officials there have begun looking toward the Tennessee River and other bodies of water.
Federal authorities have weighed into the debate, but no satisfactory answers have emerged for any of the states.
The Permanent Joint Legislative Committee for Water Policy and Management is working on a comprehensive plan, Lowry said in a news release, but it needs support and leadership from the governor as well as from the public.
Among the Alabama Rivers Alliance’s goals are creating a plan that monitors withdrawals from Alabama rivers, protects minimum flows, manages interbasin transfers, conserves water and has a regional decision-making structure.
Robert Palmer can be reached at 256-740-5720 or robert.palmer@TimesDaily.com.