§22-26-8. State Water Resources Management Plan; powers and duty of secretary.

(a) The secretary shall oversee the development of a State Water Resources Management Plan to be completed no later than November 30, 2013. The plan shall be reviewed and revised as needed after its initial adoption. The plan shall be developed with the cooperation and involvement of local and state agencies with regulatory, research or other functions relating to water resources including, but not limited to, those agencies and institutions of higher education set forth in section three of this article and a representative of large-quantity users. The State Water Resources Management Plan shall be developed utilizing the information obtained pursuant to said section and any other relevant information available to the secretary.

(b) The secretary shall develop definitions for use in the State Water Resources Management Plan for terms that are defined differently by various state and federal governmental entities as well as other terms necessary for implementation of this article.

(c) The secretary shall continue to develop and obtain the following:

(1) An inventory of the surface water resources of each region of this state, including an identification of the boundaries of significant watersheds and an estimate of the safe yield of sources for consumptive and nonconsumptive uses during periods of normal conditions and drought.

(2) A listing of each consumptive or nonconsumptive withdrawal by a large-quantity user, including the amount of water used, location of the water resources, the nature of the use, location of each intake and discharge point by longitude and latitude where available and, if the use involves more than one watershed or basin, the watersheds or basins involved and the amount transferred.

(3) A plan for the development of the infrastructure necessary to identify the groundwater resources of each region of this state, including an identification of aquifers and groundwater basins and an assessment of their safe yield, prime recharge areas, recharge capacity, consumptive limits and relationship to stream base flows.

(4) After consulting with the appropriate state and federal agencies, assess and project the existing and future nonconsumptive use needs of the water resources required to serve areas with important or unique natural, scenic, environmental or recreational values of national, regional, local or statewide significance, including national and state parks; designated wild, scenic and recreational rivers; national and state wildlife refuges; and the habitats of federal and state endangered or threatened species.

(5) Assessment and projection of existing and future consumptive use demands.

(6) Identification of potential problems with water availability or conflicts among water uses and users including, but not limited to, the following:

(A) A discussion of any area of concern regarding historical or current conditions that indicate a low-flow condition or where a drought or flood has occurred or is likely to occur that threatens the beneficial use of the surface water or groundwater in the area; and

(B) Current or potential in-stream or off-stream uses that contribute to or are likely to exacerbate natural low-flow conditions to the detriment of the water resources.

(7) Establish criteria for designation of critical water planning areas comprising any significant hydrologic unit where existing or future demands exceed or threaten to exceed the safe yield of available water resources.

(8) An assessment of the current and future capabilities of public water supply agencies and private water supply companies to provide an adequate quantity and quality of water to their service areas.

(9) An assessment of floodplain and stormwater management problems.

(10) Efforts to improve data collection, reporting and water monitoring where prior reports have found deficiencies.

(11) A process for identifying projects and practices that are being, or have been, implemented by water users that reduce the amount of consumptive use, improve efficiency in water use, provide for reuse and recycling of water, increase the supply or storage of water or preserve or increase groundwater recharge and a recommended process for providing appropriate positive recognition of those projects or practices in actions, programs, policies, projects or management activities.

(12) An assessment of both structural and nonstructural alternatives to address identified water availability problems, adverse impacts on water uses or conflicts between water users, including potential actions to develop additional or alternative supplies, conservation measures and management techniques.

(13) A review and evaluation of statutes, rules, policies and institutional arrangements for the development, conservation, distribution and emergency management of water resources.

(14) A review and evaluation of water resources management alternatives and recommended programs, policies, institutional arrangements, projects and other provisions to meet the water resources needs of each region and of this state.

(15) Proposed methods of implementing various recommended actions, programs, policies, projects or management activities.

(d) The State Water Resources Management Plan shall consider:

(1) The interconnections and relationships between groundwater and surface water as components of a single hydrologic resource.

(2) Regional or watershed water resources needs, objectives and priorities.

(3) Federal, state and interstate water resource policies, plans, objectives and priorities, including those identified in statutes, rules, regulations, compacts, interstate agreements or comprehensive plans adopted by federal and state agencies and compact basin commissions.

(4) The needs and priorities reflected in comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances adopted by a county or municipal government.

(5) The water quantity and quality necessary to support reasonable and beneficial uses.

(6) A balancing and encouragement of multiple uses of water resources, recognizing that all water resources of this state are capable of serving multiple uses and human needs, including multiple uses of water resources for reasonable and beneficial uses.

(7) The distinctions between short-term and long-term conditions, impacts, needs and solutions to ensure appropriate and cost-effective responses to water resources issues.

(8) Application of the principle of equal and uniform treatment of all water users that are similarly situated without regard to established political boundaries.

(e) Each November, the secretary shall report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on State Water Resources on the implementation of the State Water Resources Management Plan.

(f) The State Water Resources Management Plan is adopted. Persons identified as large-quantity users prior to the effective date of this subsection shall report actual monthly water withdrawals, or monthly water withdrawals by a method approved by the secretary, for the previous calendar year by March 31 of each succeeding year. Persons identified as large-quantity users on or after the effective date of this subsection shall submit their initial annual report no later than March 31, 2016, and subsequent annual reports by March 31 of each year thereafter.