Developing statewide water plans: needs and challenges
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Many states have completed comprehensive water plans that address water supply, water quality and environmental needs. These are living documents that are periodically updated or given annual status reports. While the specific goals of these water plans are unique to each geography, they all share some common objectives such as providing for a reliable water supply, protecting water quality, enhancement of the natural environment, and ensuring quality of life for citizens. Preparation of these plans also shares some common challenges. These challenges have often included: (1) institutional barriers; (2) costs; (3) water rights; (4) competition for water resources among urban, agriculture and the environment; and (5) public outreach and stakeholder involvement. Understanding these challenges and how they were resolved can be useful as the State of Georgia contemplates developing a statewide water plan. This paper will summarize the statewide water planning efforts in Texas, Florida, California, and Colorado. It will illustrate the needs for these plans and the challenges in developing them.