Monday, September 07, 2009

Federal water management council proposed

The latest monthly government affairs report from AGI has an amazing write-up about federal involvement in water resources:
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is drafting a bill that would establish a Water Resources Management Council consisting of Cabinet level members and a director nominated by the President. The bill, called the Sustainable Watershed Planning Act, would establish regional watershed planning boards to work for a comprehensive water management infrastructure of all watersheds. The boards would develop five year plans for water use and conservation, and be comprised of members from stakeholders and local, state, and federal agencies.

The legislation is an attempt to consolidate and coordinate water management so that regional effects from local management decisions can be taken into account. There are some doubts over the legislation, as stakeholders and state water managers are unsure what the specific goals of the council and planning boards are, but water experts agree that the current water management structure needs to be fixed.

My experiences are that dealing with even scientific studies of water across state lines is enough to risk total war with water group and constituencies. I expect a federally-established water management council to be a target from so many quarters that it will never stand a chance of passage.

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