Dec 15 2010
Along with many other aspects of its water system, in-stream flows are coming under some scrutiny in Georgia – a state where a federal court decision could in years to come cost a large piece of the existing water supply.
An in-stream flows ad-hoc meeting on December 7 covered the full range of rules in that area on Georgia water, along with a review of rules in nearby states.
That part of the summary:
Gail Cowie distributed a handout summarizing instream flow policies in neighboring states.
• Florida – complex system mainly related to their 5 District structure. The goal is to prevent harm to water resources. Establishes the functions of the water resource and the instream flows are designed to protect that functionality. They use a pattern of flows over a year
(hydrograph). The instream flows are used for planning and permitting.
• Alabama – regulate wastewater discharges based on annual 7Q10. No water withdrawal permitting or other instream flow provisions.
• Tennessee – recently added instream flow considerations to state water quality standards to meet the fish & wildlife habitat criteria and support recreational uses.
• South Carolina – new water withdrawal permitting requirements that requires looking at minimum instream flows and also accounts for downstream users needs. Requirements look at seasonal instream flow needs.
• North Carolina – address through state water policy acts that requires site specific studies for
withdrawals of a certain size. Minimum releases from dams also varies based on physiographic province, stream size, and condition of aquatic habitat. A 2008 Act requires hydrologic modeling to evaluate ecological flows for all river basins across the state that will be used of regional water planning.
In summary, each State considers instream flows differently. The differences between States are related to how they manage resources and when their instream flow policies were adopted. Seasonal variation
is a trend as well as approaches that respond to the different uses or characteristics of water resources versus one set standard.
Data from the meeting was expected to be posted on a state web site.