Water experts to highlight water resources conference at TROY

A view of the Chattahoochee River behind Troy University's Riverfront Campus in Phenix City.

A view of the Chattahoochee River behind Troy University's Riverfront Campus in Phenix City.

Registration for Troy University’s third annual TROY Water Resource Management and Economics Conference is under way.

The conference is Oct. 19-21 in Phenix City and national and regional water experts will focus on the critical current legal and planning issues in water resource management, and how it impacts the region. A part of the Sorrell College of Business at TROY, the Center for Water Resource Economics leads the conference, themed this year as “Building Sustainable Bridges.”

The conference begins at 1:30 p.m. (Eastern) and all meetings take place in the Courtyard by Marriott on Whitewater Avenue in Phenix City.

Center Director Billy Turner said the conference offers the best opportunity to receive timely information on many of the water activities and issues facing the regional users and managers.

“Given the anticipated trial on the Supreme Court lawsuit between Florida and Georgia during November and December, and the expected release of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Plan for the ACF in early 2017, the decisions that come from these actions will set water planning and resource conditions for years to come,” he said.

The conference is divided into four sections: Tri-State Water Planning and Issues, Regional Water Activities, Key Issues in Water Management, and Important Factors in Water Planning.

One of the region’s leading water resources attorney, Bennett Bearden of the Water Policy and Law Institute at the University of Alabama, will provide a status report of the ongoing legal actions both on the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa system and the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint system. Lead planners for Alabama and Georgia will also provide a report on new and continuing activity of state water plans. Both presentations are slated for the conference’s opening session on Oct. 19.

A reception and dinner that night will begin at 6:30 p.m. and features the keynote address by TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., and the presentation of The Don Hines Award, named in memory of the former Sorrell College of Business dean and economics professor. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to water resource management and planning. Past recipients include the City of Columbus, Ga. and City of Phenix City for the joint Chattahoochee River Restoration Project, and Mr. Allen Owen, former governmental affairs manager for WestRock and a member of the University’s Board of Trustees.

Ryan Mueller, executive director of the Interstate Council on Water Policy, will provide the keynote address during a luncheon on Oct. 20.

A featured session will be reports from the Corps of Engineers both on a national and district level, as well as the status of the ACF Planning Process. Regional issues and actions will report on the closed locks at Walter F. George and Andrews Dams and provide information on invasive grasses in some area Corps reservoirs.

Other speakers at the conference will focus on energy issues in the region, with a special focus on the proposed Georgia Power Co. plant site in Stewart County, research and drought planning at the three regional Water Centers at Auburn, Florida and Ga. Tech., and an array of papers on critical matters in water resource planning and protection.

The cost to register for the entire conference is $200, with an early registration price of $175 offered until Oct. 7. Partial registration fees are also available. To learn more about the conference or to register, visit http://cvent.com/d/zfqxpb.