Water

The federal government’s moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling—which was expected to continue through November 30th in order for the government to devise new safety regulations and environmental response measures—has faced a stumbling block in court today as the federal judge overseeing the case permitted the challenge to proceed.

CSG South

This Regional Resource from The Council of State Government's Southern Office, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), relates to the water allocation and management strategies in the Southern states. Water, both as a resource and a commodity, is a pivotal variable in the equation relating to the future health and vitality of the United States. Americans are accustomed to turning a faucet to access, what is assumed to be, limitless amounts of fresh, clean water. However, the resource does not adhere to lines drawn on a map, and population growth and other factors that increase demand for water do not necessarily coincide with areas where it is plentiful. Due to increased consumption, along with pollution, diversion and depletion of the region’s finite water supply, the South is running out of freshwater sources. For a number of years, the Southern Legislative Conference has been examining Southern states’ policies regarding water allocation and withdrawals. This Regional Resource investigates the continuing trends that have played a role in the South’s numerous water crises and explores ways in which states can better develop policies regarding withdrawal, regulation, diversion, and conservation of water resources.

In April I wrote about offshore drilling and how, politically, it wasn’t about the oil, given that the estimated recoverable reserves were unlikely to substantially impact our reliance on foreign sources of petroleum (the EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2010 assumes import reliance will remain near 50% through 2035, down from 57% in 2008); it was about securing votes for climate change legislation. 

Michigan now assesses environmental impact of proposed water withdrawals on nearby streams and limits stream depletion based on ecological characteristics. The scientific framework is the relationship between streamflow reductions and projected impact on resident fish populations. Program development was overseen by an advisory council representing major water interest groups.

Effective management of water resources is critical to the economic sustainability and security of the U.S. Increased population, intensified use and climate change will continue to affect scarce water supplies. Governments, at all levels, will need to adopt collaborative strategies as our actions, or inactions, will have major repercussions on our ability to maintain our global competitiveness.

The U.S. has serious water quality and quantity problems that are likely to get worse. States have taken action on multiple fronts to address the nation’s water quality and quantity problems. However, more action will be needed.
 

BE IT THEREFORE NOW RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments calls upon the United States Congress, United States Army Corps of Engineers and United States Bureau of Reclamation to form partnerships with the states to extend the productive lives of reservoirs.

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