Water

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments calls on Congress and the Administration to enable and encourage federal agencies to enter into partnerships, including memorandum of understandings, with state governments to provide for the better management of land in and around military and other federal facilities.

The West faces special challenges with water, and not just in the U.S. The pending threat of climate change makes those challenges even more threatening.

That was the message during the session, “Managing Western Water in Evolving Climate Conditions.”

And that’s one reason British Columbia, for one, is considering climate change in any new water agreements it considers, said Glen Davidson, comptroller of Water Rights for province of British Columbia.

“We’re trying to adapt our tools, trying to build...

The West is running out of water … well, almost. Northwestern and Northcentral Western states are seeing an increase in precipitation and the Southwestern and Southcentral areas are, as expected, experiencing decreased rain. Add to this a temperature increase of five to seven degrees Fahrenheit in key river basins, a lower-than-predicted snowpack—a key feeder of Western water—and you end up with the perfect mixture of short-term events and long-term impacts that are likely to decrease Western stream flow up to 20 percent across several river basins. This session focused on the critical issue of Western water, how states can work and are working together, and what the federal government is doing to assist.

Western legislators will have the opportunity to review and discuss recent draft guidelines aimed at determining which waters are within the jurisdiction of the federal Clean Water Act. The CSG-WEST Western Water & Environment Committee will consider the guidelines, developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, during the 64th CSG-WEST Annual Meeting in Hawaii. 

Several Great Lakes-related measures have been introduced in state capitols across the region during the first half of 2011, from bills on how to handle future offshore wind energy projects to new legislative proposals on how states should manage their water resources.

A voluntary program that helps Michigan farmers ensure that they are complying with environmental regulations and implementing soil- and water-conservation measures has become one of the state’s newest laws.

A plan to ship radioactive waste through the Great Lakes has received a flurry of criticism over the past year, but in February, it secured the approval of a key federal regulatory commission in Canada.

This Act establishes a credit against the state income tax for people or companies that donate the right to withdraw water from streams to the state water conservation board for the purpose of reducing the amount of water that is withdrawn from the streams. The Act specifies that the state water conservation board will approve the credits by issuing certificates to water rights owners who permanently transfer water rights to the water conservation board.

The Act requires residential home builders to offer home buyers certain water conserving technology, appliances, and landscaping practices. Examples include water-efficient toilets and dishwashers that meet federal Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Program standards. 

The federal government will be relying on the states to make the most of its historic federal commitment to clean up and restore the Great Lakes.

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