White paper offers blueprint for resolving Southeastern water wars

March 31, 2009
The Water Policy Institute, a non-partisan consortium dedicated to developing innovative, sustainable solutions for water supply, quality and use issues, announces the release of a white paper that examines the water consumption issues driving many water disputes and provides a blueprint for resolution...

• Challenges and potential solutions in water consumption fight between states examined

WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 31, 2009 -- The Water Policy Institute, a non-partisan consortium dedicated to developing innovative, sustainable solutions for water supply, quality and use issues, announces the release of a white paper that examines the water consumption issues driving many water disputes and provides a blueprint for resolution.

"Water Wars: Conflicts Over Shared Waters," the first white paper produced by the Institute, focuses on the long-running war over water among Georgia, Florida and Alabama in the wake of the Southeast drought and the challenges resulting from a growing water footprint and increased consumption, both in the U.S. and worldwide.

"The water war in the Southeastern U.S. serves as a microcosm of water disputes occurring in the U.S. and throughout the world," said Kathy Robb, founder and director of the Water Policy Institute, and a partner at the law firm Hunton & Williams LLP. "This dispute has been made much worse in recent years by growing demand for the limited amount of water available."

The Southeast dispute shares many similarities with water conflicts worldwide, including competition for drinking water in an area of growth and development; increased agricultural needs; endangered and imperiled species protection; navigation, hydropower, fishing and other commercial disputes; and conflict between upstream and downstream users.

"Water supply, quality, and use issues pose major challenges for governments at every level, both in the U.S. and globally," said former EPA Administrator and New Jersey Governor, Christine Todd Whitman, president of the Whitman Strategy Group and chair of the Water Policy Institute. "The Water Policy Institute will continue to publish white papers that examine timely subjects and offer new ideas and potential solutions."

The Institute's white paper provides a guide for looking at and resolving the issues at the core of the Georgia, Florida and Alabama dispute and, by extension, other water wars. Among its proposals: that states hold off on pending litigation while President Obama appoints a federal moderator to facilitate an interstate compact, and that various studies be completed to explore how conservation, reclamation and reuse tools can lead to greater water efficiency.

"Our aim was to explore the root causes of water disputes and provide a suggested path for their resolution," added Robb.

>> Download a copy of the white paper 'Water Wars: Conflicts Over Shared Waters' [.pdf]

The Water Policy Institute, formed in June 2008, is a non-partisan, member-driven organization of water leaders, including scientists, academics, water users, industry representatives, water suppliers, and non-governmental organizations. Its purpose is to collaboratively develop innovative, sustainable solutions for water supply and quality issues, and to provide leadership on legal, regulatory and policy issues involving water locally, nationally, and internationally.

Hunton & Williams LLP provides legal services to corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals, as well as to a broad array of other entities.

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