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Don’t let winter’s rainfall make you forget about looming water issues

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• In case you need a reminder of how important water issues are to the future of farming, Georgia’s state legislature, in its just-concluded session, came perilously close to passing a law that would have enforced efficiency requirements on agricultural irrigation systems.

But everyone knows the government that giveth can also taketh away, and Alabama growers need to be aware of the possibility of water-use regulations in the near future. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially in a state like Alabama where there has never been a comprehensive water policy.

If done correctly, such a plan can insure water resources will be available for future generations of farmers.

A first step in this planning process will be a symposium at Auburn University on May 10, with the theme, “Science-based Water Planning and Policy — What We Know, What We Need to Know, and How We Get There.”

The primary purpose of the meeting is to inform Alabamians about current progress on water policy and to solicit public comment, including that from the agricultural community.

“The water-management plan is envisioned as a broad, comprehensive plan that addresses all facets of water management,” says Sam Fowler, director of the Auburn University Water Resources Center.

“This is a highly complex issue that calls for lots of input and that is why we are holding this symposium and similar ones throughout the state.”

The symposium will be held at the Comer Hall Auditorium (Ag Hill, for those who know the campus), room 207, from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

In the meantime, while growers in both states await the rules and regulations that are sure to come, the best strategy is to be proactive.

phollis@farmpress.com

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