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Water Planning Committee Meeting Summary February 25, 2019 Conference Call

  1. Call to Order—Chair Jennifer Hoggatt-Missouri DNR at 9:03 a.m. Mountain
  2. Introductions of Participants on the call—Jennifer Hoggatt, MODNR; Sue Lowry, ICWP Executive Director, Jodee Pring, Wyoming WDO; Ed Swaim, Arkansas NRC; Gail Melgren, Southwest MO Regional Water; Jennifer Schellpeper, Carol Flaute, Jesse Strong, Amy Zoeller, Neb. DNR; Pooja Kanwar, MN DNR.
  •  Summary of December 17, 2018 and January 14, 2019 calls—Both are posted on the icwp.org website. 
  • Status of water planning from any members not on earlier calls
    • Updating; Scope of basins; Approach

Pooja gave an update on MN planning process. Main approach is fragmented. Water allocations in one agency and safe drinking in another and ag use in yet another.  Jennifer had reached out to Jason Meckel, also at MNDNR to discuss the One Watershed/One Plan program within MN.  

Jennifer mentioned that in MO, several regional plans were in place prior to a statewide plan.  Gail commented that water demand estimates in the state plan are helpful, and that MO focusing on a few areas to concentrate upon rather than a full shotgun approach is helpful.  The stakeholder engagement is also appreciated.   

Jennifer Schellpeper gave an overview of how Nebraska’s decentralized approach was congealed into a basin wide plan in the Republican basin.  A lot of the stakeholder work focused on education on the importance of water in general and the importance of local control.  At the same time, the local approach needs to be responsive to regulating limited supplies. The Republican Basin plan becomes effective March 1, 2019.  The full basin plans must be jointly adopted by the State and the Natural Resource Districts in the basin.  The legislation provided for a “Control Board” to be appointed if the parties are not able to agree.  So far that Control Board has not been needed.  

  • Planning related questions for the Water Sub-Cabinet members at Washington Roundtable April 2-3, 2019

Sue went through each day of the agenda for the Roundtable, hitting on the highlights of each day of the event.  Water Planning will be discussed throughout the Roundtable, but one specific water planning panel is on Tuesday.  Sue reminded the members that Early Bird rate for ICWP members lasts until March 5 and that is also the cut0ff date for the hotel.  ICWP got the attractive rate of $179/night which is below the federal per diem rate. She also mentioned the Water Sub-cabinet event scheduled for Wed. afternoon.  If anyone has water planning specific questions they would like raised to the Sub-Cabinet officials, please send those to Sue by March 4.

  • Topics and speakers for future water planning learning opportunities

Jennifer noted that 3 calls have been held and the committee has matured sufficiently to begin to delve more deeply into topics. When members were asked to provide more detail on their planning efforts or specific tools, the responses can be categorized into 2 main areas: 

Innovative Tools for Planning: such as scenario planning—large population growth, climate change, etc. CDM -Smith has developed this tool.  Jennifer could ask CDM-Smith to do a webinar on scenario planning.

Organizational Structure for Water Planning—there are many diverse approaches represented by our members.  MN-Clean Water Legacy—some legislation on how agencies will coordinate.

Ed commented that the public feels that the scenario plans will necessarily lead to something and the concept of planning for a range of conditions that might occur is not well understood.  Another topic could be how to keep the planning process going after the initial plans are written and in place.  Hard to keep public involved without a crisis.  Specific areas such as drought planning or clean water initiatives can keep the public involved.  The impression that in Texas the regional water planning groups began to take on projects on their own.  A good update for the committee would be to ask Texas to provide information on their regional groups on a future call.  Defining the expectations of the stakeholder groups is important so that they can feel like they have accomplished what they set out to do initially. Jennifer S. mentioned the AWRA Water Planning conference in Omaha end of March.  Sue will send out to the ICWP membership.

Pooja added that Minnesota is working on a Water Conservation Recording System—collecting water conservation data from various water use sectors.  First only larger water suppliers were reporting, and now adding other water use areas.  MN implementing their Strategic Plan and focusing on Systems-thinking.    Pooja is leading the Systems-thinking work and would be willing to make a presentation to the committee.

Gail raised the interaction of planning with politics and associated challenges.  Urban vs rural; implementation of projects and the politics involved. These could be planning specific panels at Mobile in October.   

  • Discussion on summary report for ICWP Intern
    • Summarizing Authorities, including rulemaking, by state/interstate for aspects of Water Planning

Sue updated the group that 3 interns have been selected and they will be deciding what project to tackle later this week. Sue will let Jennifer H. know if one of the interns would like to work on this water planning topic.

  • Next call or webinar—Set for Monday, May 6 at 9 a.m. Mtn; 10 Central and 11 Eastern