UT Water Expert Testifies Before Congress

KNOXVILLE – A University of Tennessee water resources expert recently testified before Congress, which is considering new regulations on water resource development.

Dr. David Feldman, of UT’s Energy, Environment and Resources Center, spoke to members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

“I told them that there are three things Congress needs to do,” Feldman said. “The first was to encourage states and communities to develop, with national assistance, comprehensive water management plans within river basins.”

The other recommendations to Congress, Feldman said, were to make sure those comprehensive plans assess the benefits of water conservation, and to begin a national survey of emerging and established trends in water quality and supply.

Feldman said legislators are becoming more aware of potential problems with future water supply.

“Our population in the Southeast is growing very rapidly, and there has been a series of regional droughts for the last 20 years,” Feldman said. “When you put those two things together, we have a lot of pressures on our existing water supplies, especially with the growth of major cities like Atlanta and rural areas like Cumberland County, Tennessee, which are becoming attractive places to retire.”

Congress is considering proposals for a “Water Resources Development Act of 2002” that would address the current problems and future needs for water quality and supply.