Section 9-10B-2

Legislative findings; exemptions.

The Legislature of the State of Alabama hereby finds and declares that:

(1) All waters of the state, whether found on the surface of the ground or underneath the surface of the ground, are among the basic resources of the State of Alabama;

(2) The use of waters of the state for human consumption is recognized as a priority use of the state and it is the intent of this chapter that no limitation upon the use of water for human consumption shall be imposed except in emergency situations after the Office of Water Resources has considered all feasible alternatives to such limitations;

(3) The use of such waters should be conserved and managed to enable the people of this state to realize the full beneficial use thereof and to maintain such water resources for use in the future;

(4) The general welfare of the people of this state is dependent upon the dedication of the water resources of the State of Alabama to beneficial use to the fullest extent to which they are capable through the development and implementation of plans and programs to manage such quantitative water resources;

(5) It is the purpose of this chapter to establish the Office of Water Resources and the Water Resources Commission and to vest said office and commission with the power and responsibility to develop plans and strategies for the management of the waters of the state as well as the other goals and policies of this chapter;

(6) No person's beneficial use of the quantitative waters of the state shall be restricted by the Office of Water Resources or the Water Resources Commission except where such beneficial use is within an area of the state designated as a capacity stress area pursuant to this chapter. It is the intent of the Legislature that any action taken which limits, restricts or conditions any person's beneficial use of water resources of this state be implemented only after:

a. the Water Resources Commission has determined that such action is necessary because the aggregate uses of the waters of the state in such area exceeds or will exceed the availability of such waters and is required to protect the availability of the waters of the state; and

b. such person has been afforded due process of law including, but not limited to, a public hearing. The implementation and enforcement of any action limiting, restricting, or conditioning any person's beneficial use of water resources shall be under the direction of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management; and

(7) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary, the provisions of this chapter shall not apply to:

a. Impoundments or other similar containments confined and retained completely upon the property of a person which store water where the initial diversion, withdrawal, or consumption of such water is acknowledged in a certificate of use;

b. Waste water treatment ponds and waste water treatment impoundments subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. Sections 1251 et seq., and ponds and impoundments subject to regulation under the Mine Safety and Health Act, 30 U.S.C. Sections 801 et seq., or the Surface Mining Control Act, 30 U.S.C. Sections 1201 et seq.; and

c. Surface impoundments constituting solid waste management units under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. Sections 6901 et seq.

(Acts 1993, No. 93-44, p. 78, §3.)