What Others Are Saying

Published 10:00 am Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Decatur Daily on a water management plan for Alabama:

Alabama is one the most water-abundant states in the nation, but does not have a management plan for that abundance.

Gov. Kay Ivey last week disbanded a committee charged with developing a statewide water management plan. The committee was appointed in 2012 by former Gov. Robert Bentley, who resigned in April. Ivey has disbanded a number of committees appointed by Bentley.

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The Alabama Water Agencies Working Group, as the committee was called, did not produce anything of significance, which seems to be a tradition for agencies and committees assigned to craft a water plan. The group was to have submitted a plan by the end of 2013.

Back in 1990, the Water Resources Act gave the Office of Water Resources, under the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, the responsibility to develop a statewide water management plan. To date, there is no tangible plan.

The Alabama Rivers Alliance, an environmental watchdog, is concerned that the state remains without a plan in an era when droughts have parched the South.

Cindy Lowry, executive director of Alabama Rivers Alliance, said no one is monitoring the total amount of water being pulled from rivers by multiple industrial users, or the impacts those withdrawals are having downstream.

The Southern Environmental Law Center has concerns, too.

Sarah Stokes, the center’s attorney, said state policies have been ineffective, in part because they provide no protections during droughts.

Ivey, in a letter explaining termination of the study group, said she will rely on existing data for water policy decisions.

The (hopefully) good news is ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said two water studies will be published soon mapping the state’s water supplies.

Here’s more bad news. To create a water management plan, $3 million will be needed to draft it. In a state that is perpetually broke because of an archaic and regressive tax code, that could be an insurmountable challenge. If the money is provided, it would take three years to complete.

Alabama desperately needs a water management plan. Climate change demands that fresh water sources be managed with the greatest care and foresight possible.

The Opelika-Auburn News on an Auburn University student being named as a Rhodes scholar:

Winning a Rhodes scholarship is a big deal. A very big deal.

Congratulations to Auburn University student Matthew Rogers, who recently was announced as one of only 32 U.S. students to receive the highly acclaimed, international honor that will allow him to study at the University of Oxford in England.

It is a highly prestigious recognition in the academic world for both the student and the university from which he was chosen, meaning both Rogers and Auburn both deserve special praise.

Rogers is a senior at Auburn majoring in software engineering. He plans to pursue a doctorate in cybersecurity, a hot field these days in demand of good talent.

Auburn is gaining a solid reputation in the young cybersecurity field, and its engineering school will get additional attention from Rogers making his mark.

Rogers grew up the son of an Army officer, moving from post to post until his father’s retirement in Huntsville, which is the family’s home now.

He maintains a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and is an undergraduate research fellow working with IBM.

His research includes work on a crypto-processor to create secure exchanges of information, something clearly in demand in today’s high-tech world and the daily headlines of hackers causing chaos.

We couldn’t agree more.

Congratulations, Matthew Rogers, for being named a Rhodes scholar; and to Auburn University for helping him get there.

Well done.