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Summary of a Workshop on Water Issues in the Apalachicola- Chattahoochee-Flint and Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACF-ACT) River Basins Jeffrey Jacobs, Rapporteur W ater Science and Technology Board Division on Earth and Life Studies THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu PREPUBLICA TION
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under Award No. W91278-09-P-0063. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied of the U.S. Government. International Standard Book Number X-XXX-XXXXX-X (Book) International Standard Book Number X-XXX-XXXXX-X (PDF) Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievement of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V . Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph, J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org PREPUBLICA TION
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STEERING COMMITTEE FOR A WORKSHOP ON W ATER ISSUES IN THE APALACHICOLA-CHATT AHOOCHEE-FLINT AND ALABAMA-COOSA- TALLAPOOSA (ACF-ACT) RIVER BASINS David H. Moreau, Moderator, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Gerald G. Galloway, University of Maryland, College Park Joan G. Ehrenfeld, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey Theodore L. Hullar, consultant, Tucson, Arizona James L. W escoat, Jr., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge National Research Council Staff Jeffrey Jacobs, Scholar Stephen Russell, Senior Program Assistant v PREPUBLICA TION
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W ATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD CLAIRE WEL TY ,Chair , University of Maryland, Baltimore County JOAN G. EHRENFELD, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey GERALD E. GALLOW A Y , University of Maryland, College Park SIMON GONZALEZ, National Autonomous University of Mexico CHARLES N. HAAS, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania KENNETH R. HERD, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Brooksville JAMES M. HUGHES, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia THEODORE L. HULLAR, consultant, Tucson, Arizona KIMBERL Y L. JONES, Howard University, Washington, D.C. G. TRACY MEHAN III, The Cadmus Group, Inc., Arlington, Virginia DA VID H. MOREAU, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill THOMAS D. O’ROURKE, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York DONALD I. SIEGEL, Syracuse University, New York SOROOSH SOROOSHIAN, University of California, Irvine HAME M. W A TT, consultant, Washington, D.C. JAMES L. WESCOA T, JR., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Staff STEPHEN D. P ARKER, Director JEFFREY JACOBS, Scholar LAURA J. EHLERS, Senior Staff Officer STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Senior Staff Officer LAURA J. HELSABECK, Associate Staff Officer M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Financial and Administrative Associate ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Research Associate ANITA A. HALL, Senior Program Associate MICHAEL STOEVER, Senior Program Assistant STEPHEN RUSSELL, Senior Program Assistant vi PREPUBLICA TION
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Foreword The southern states of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia share two large river systems—the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, and Flint (ACF) rivers, and the Alabama, Coosa, and Tallapoosa (ACT) rivers. Much of the water in these river systems is stored and allocated for various uses in 10 reservoirs operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and in 21 non-federal reservoirs. The shared waters of these interstate river systems have been the subjects of extensive negotiations and litigation since the 1980s. The water-related disputes and differences of opinion among the federal government, the states, and other entities in the basin may seem unusual to the uninitiated observer, as the western U.S. traditionally has been the site of disputes over shared water resources. Friction regarding shared water resources, however, is increasingly common across the nation. Examples from the eastern U.S. include New Y ork City—which has had disputes with some Delaware River Basin communities—and the Savannah River and the Tennessee River, both of which are subject to disputes over shared inter-state waters. The ACF-ACT river systems are an example of where extended drought and population growth, even in a humid region, have led to reduced water deliveries to some users and to tensions and litigation. There are differences of opinion over water resources decisions in this region, on many different topics and at a variety of levels and spatial scales. There also is limited or incomplete scientific information related to several key water management concerns. Questions such as “How much water does the Atlanta metropolitan area use?” or “How much water is required by endangered and other important species in Apalachicola Bay?” do not have clear answers. Lack of clarity on these and other hydrologic and scientific issues may obstruct agreement and inhibit more flexible water management regimes and decisions. In response to a request from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, staff members from the National Academies’ Water Science and Technology Board (WSTB), along with a five-person WSTB steering committee,1 organized a one-day workshop to discuss a range of water science and planning issues. The workshop was held on April 3, 2009 in Washington, D.C., and engaged a group of nearly 50 water resources experts, stakeholders, and political officials. The objective 1 Steering committee members are listed in this report’s frontmatter. vii PREPUBLICA TION
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viii Foreword of the event was to identify the key management issues in the ACF-ACT basins, and to identify study topics and questions that might be pursued as a means to support better water management decisions (see the Statement of Task for this event in Appendix A). The workshop generated a great deal of enthusiasm and featured vigorous exchanges of ideas and perspectives among meeting participants. Following this event, a list of the topics discussed at the workshop and a list of possible topics and questions that might be usefully pursued in a future study(ies) was compiled by the WSTB staff and summarized in this workshop summary. Although the workshop was not designed to produce specific findings or recommendations, many workshop participants expressed the view that a forward-looking, comprehensive water resources assessment would be of great value in helping the Corps of Engineers and Alabama, Florida, Georgia in their water resources planning for the next 20-30 years. Topics that could be usefully pursued within such a study include future water supply scenarios and management options; changes in water demands and demand patterns across the region; connections between river flows and impacts on downstream ecology and species of concern; and the effects of climate change on water availability. This summary was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with the procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the NRC in making its published report as sound as possible, and to ensure that the report meets NRC institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following for their review of this report: Aris Georgakakos, Georgia Institute of Technology; William L. Graf, University of South Carolina; G. Tracy Mehan, The Cadmus Group, Inc., and; A. Dan Tarlock, Chicago Kent College of Law. Although these reviewers provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they did not see the final draft of the summary before its release. The review of this report was overseen by the NRC Division on Earth and Life Studies, which was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the author and the institution. I wish to thank the participants from the ACF-ACT region and other parts of the nation who attended and participated in the workshop. It was a pleasure to host them and to learn of the many different perspectives and opinions regarding water management in the ACF-ACT rivers. The discussions at the meeting were professional and informative and the cooperative spirit of the invitees contributed greatly to the success of the event. Jeffrey Jacobs, National Research Council Rapporteur PREPUBLICA TION