1997 Regular Session
To: Conservation and Water Resources
By: Representative Moak
House Bill 195
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 51-3-21, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY TO ESTABLISH A PROGRAM TO MONITOR CHANGES IN SURFACE WATER QUALITY, WHICH SHALL BE ADMINISTERED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 51-3-21, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
51-3-21. (1) The commission, through its Office of Land and Water Resources, shall proceed as rapidly as possible to study existing water resources in the state; means and methods of conserving and augmenting those waters; existing and contemplated needs and uses of water for protection and procreation of fish and wildlife, irrigation, mining, power development, and domestic, municipal, and industrial uses; and all other related subjects, including drainage, reclamation, flood-plain or flood-hazard area zoning, and selection of reservoir sites. Not later than July 1, 1997, the commission shall formulate, as a functional element of a comprehensive state plan, an integrated, coordinated plan for the use and development of the waters of the state, based on the above studies. This plan, with any amendments, supplements and additions as may be necessary from time to time, shall be known as the "state water management plan."
(2) In the formulation of the state water management plan, the commission shall give due consideration to:
(a) The attainment of maximum beneficial use of water for the purposes * * * referred to in subsection (1) of this section.
(b) The maximum economic development of the water resources consistent with other uses.
(c) The control of * * * waters for * * * purposes such as environmental protection, drainage, flood control and water storage.
(d) The quantity of water available for application to a beneficial use.
(e) The prevention of wasteful, uneconomical, impractical or unreasonable uses of water resources, including free-flowing wells, existing or otherwise, regardless of size.
(f) Presently exercised domestic or exempted uses and permit rights.
(g) The preservation and enhancement of the water quality of the state and the provisions of the state water quality plan.
(h) The state water resources policy as expressed by this chapter.
(i) The allocation of surface water and groundwater in those situations in which the Governor has declared that an emergency situation exists which creates an imminent and substantial endangerment threatening the public health and safety or the lives and property of the people of this state.
(3) During the process of formulating or revising the state water management plan, the commission shall consult with and carefully evaluate the recommendations of concerned federal, state and local agencies, particularly the governing boards of the water management districts and local governments, and other interested persons. The commission may conduct any public meetings or hearings * * * it * * * deems necessary or appropriate to insure maximum public involvement in the formulation and adoption of the state water management plan.
(4) Each * * * governing board of the water management districts is directed to cooperate with the commission in conducting surveys and investigations of water resources, to furnish the commission with all available data of a technical nature, and to advise and assist the commission in the formulation and drafting of those portions of the state plan applicable to that water management district or local government.
(5) For the purposes of this plan the commission * * *, in consultation with the affected governing board, may divide each water management district into sections which shall conform as nearly as practicable to hydrologically controllable areas and describe all water resources within each area.
(6) The commission shall give careful consideration to the requirements of public recreation and to the protection and procreation of fish and wildlife. The commission may prohibit or restrict other future uses on certain designated bodies of water which may be inconsistent with these objectives.
(7) The commission may designate certain uses in connection with a particular source of supply which, because of the nature of the activity or the amount of water required, would constitute an undesirable use for which the permit board may deny a permit.
(8) The commission may designate certain uses in connection with a particular source of supply which, because of the nature of the activity or the amount of water required, would result in an enhancement or improvement of the water resources of the area. These uses shall be preferred over other uses in the event of competing applications under the permitting system authorized by this chapter.
(9) The commission may add to the state water management plan any other information, directions or objectives it deems necessary or desirable for the guidance of governing boards or other agencies in the administration and enforcement of this chapter.
(10) The commission may delegate to any joint water management district authority to assist the commission in preparation, administration and implementation of the state water management plan or any related activity * * * in that district.
(11) The commission shall create a program, to be administered by the Department of Environmental Quality, to establish a system of surface water collection points throughout the state in order to monitor any changes in water quality.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.