The legislature’s Environment Committee this week overwhelmingly approved a proposal calling for the state’s Water Planning Council (WPC) to prepare a plan for the management of Connecticut’s water resources.

HB 5424 essentially strengthens the current function of the WPC--represented by the Office of Policy Management, Department of Public Health, and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection--by establishing the goals and criteria that the water resource plan should meet.   

Changes to the Original Bill

The committee made a few changes to the bill, including a new section that allows for a memorandum of understanding with UConn to permit its participation in the drafting of the water resources plan.  Several UConn water experts have been involved with the planning effort since the initial Water Summit last October. There was consensus early on that UConn’s expertise be tapped into for the water planning purposes.   

Licensed Water Professional

Also now included is a definition for a licensed water professional (LWP) to help streamline the administrative review and permit application process required by DPH.  

Testimony from the Connecticut Water Co. supporting the LWP pointed out that, “in this time of budget constraints, this is an innovative and cost effective way to carry out DPH programs.” 

At DEEP, use of a licensed environmental professional (LEP) has helped move administrative procedures forward for many years.   

The WPC has until Jan. 1, 2017, to submit a water resources plan to the Environment Committee. 

For more information, email Faith Gavin Kuhn.