Policy Brief: Water Resources

Senate Bill 907/ House Bill 1101: Water Resource Policy Act of 2009
Senate Bill 1170/ House Bill 1763: Improve River Basin Modeling

With North Carolina’s population expected to grow to 12 million by 2030, preventative measures against water shortages are necessary. Two droughts, from 1998-2002 and from 2005-2008, strained the State’s water supply and promoted the Water Resource Policy Act of 2009.

This Act, Senate Bill 907/House Bill 1101, would provide a new system of water regulations that would require permits for big users and create supply budgets for the communities in the 17 river basins throughout the state. Though supported by the environmental community, including NC Sierra Club, the bill has stalled in committee and will not see movement during the 2010 short legislative session.

Despite no movement this legislative session for S907/H1101, detailed, scientific information on North Carolina water resources is necessary to take preventative measures and this information is what a newly introduced bill aims to collect. Senate Bill 1170/House Bill 1763, Improve River Basin Modeling, is a data collection bill that focuses on gathering scientific information regarding the status of North Carolina river basins, including stream flow and water withdrawals. The bill focuses on developing hydrologic models for the 17 major river basins in the State for more accurate current and predictive models. The bill also aims to improve public access to water and water resource funding information and to provide reporting on water use efficiency in the State.

This bill was filed in both Chambers of the NC General Assembly at the beginning of the 2010 legislative session and has been referred to the Committee on Water Resources and Infrastructure in the House and the Committee on Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources in the Senate. The NC Sierra Club supports S1170/H1763 and will follow its progress during the 2010 legislative session.

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