Since mid-February, eighth graders at the privately-run Indian Springs School in Shelby County have been developing a comprehensive water policy as part of a classroom assignment.
On Tuesday, April 9, those students will get to present their policy to state lawmakers.
Aaron Traywick, a director for the Coalition of Alabama Students for the Environment (CASE), said several students, including Indian Springs School eighth graders, will share with legislators their interest in protecting the state’s drinking water supply.
“They’ll share their concerns as well as their personal stories as to why greater Birmingham needs to plan for the future of its drinking water resources,” Traywick said. “This is something that’s going to be a big event, and we’re really excited about it.”
Several environmental groups have pressed state lawmakers to adopt a comprehensive water policy that would address water use during droughts and for irrigation purposes, rectify inequalities regarding water use throughout Alabama and protect the state’s most precious natural resource.
Governor Robert Bentley has gotten on board, commissioning five government agencies responsible for water use in Alabama to develop a comprehensive water management plan for the state and to present recommendations, including legislative solutions, by December 1, 2013. Those five agencies include the Geological Survey of Alabama, the Office of Water Resources, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries. Collectively, the agencies make up the Alabama Water Agencies Working Group.
Meanwhile, CASE has enlisted students to join the cause of protecting the state’s drinking water by forming alliances with students on eight Alabama college campuses and at Indian Springs School, where it is helping with the class project.
Traywick said the students’ visit to the state Capitol includes a 10 a.m. press conference and a panel discussion which will include student participation. Afterward, students will “engage in direct outreach to legislators,” Traywick said. “The goal is to talk to 50, but I would imagine they’d get to at least 35,” he said. ‘They’ll be giving an executive summary of their policy recommendations.”