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Bryant creates task force to explore Delta water resources

MISSISSIPPI DELTA — Gov. Phil Bryant has issued an executive order establishing the Governor’s Delta Sustainable Water Resources Task Force.

Under the direction of the executive director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), the task force is charged to work together to ensure that the Delta will have future sustainable water supplies.

In 2011, MDEQ Executive Director Trudy Fisher formed an executive level multi-agency and multi-organization task force that developed and implemented actions to sustain water resources for agriculture, fisheries and wildlife in the Delta. The Governor’s executive order establishing the task force provides affirmation of the importance of this work and charges the members to work in a unified and collaborative manner.

“The need for a sustainable water supply is always the lifeblood of any region and is clearly of the utmost importance in Mississippi and the Delta,” Bryant said. “This task force will continue to bring regional experts together from various public and private sectors to recommend policies as it pertains to the aquifer and its water level. I look forward to seeing the annual report in January from the task force and feel confident in the individuals that will head this search for a solution.”

More than 17,000 permitted irrigation wells in the shallow Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer are used for irrigation and aquaculture and pump approximately 1.5 billion gallons of groundwater each day. This pumpage demand has exceeded the recharge to the aquifer resulting in continuing overbalances of groundwater withdrawals versus aquifer recharge and notable water-level declines in the aquifer.

“We have a clearly defined objective for sustainable water supplies in our Delta, and we know there is urgency in finding solutions to the challenges we are facing. Through a team effort this task force established by the governor will address the complex issues and find solutions that will benefit the region and the state,” said Fisher.

The task force is comprised of the Yazoo Mississippi Delta Joint Water Management District, Delta Council, Delta F.A.R.M., Mississippi Farm Bureau, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission and MDEQ.

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