Another concern for the board, he said, is that the Council of Environmental Quality draft proposal of changes to the Principles and Guidelines for Federal Agencies “fails to establish a clear, concise, and workable framework to guide development of water resources projects.

“It is incoherent and inconsistent, and thus is not implementable in a practical sense. It substantially fails to comply with the explicit directions in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, as well as a large body of previous law and policy related to water resources.”

It is written, Nimrod said, “so as to not require, or even encourage, use of proven analytical tools to distinguish among alternatives. It elevates environmental considerations over economic benefits, social well-being, and public safety.

“Because of these critical and extensive failings, the board recommends that this effort be put aside and restarted from the beginning.”

In other testimony, Dean Pennington, executive director of the Yazoo Mississippi Delta Joint Water Management District, told the commission that “more and more, problems in our region center on not having the water we need at critical times.

“Agriculture is becoming more dependent on water for irrigation in order to remain a viable industry, and we’re beginning to see a strain on groundwater resources.

“It is important that we use every gallon of water efficiently, and that we find ways to develop new supplies,” Pennington said. “We feel the Corps of Engineers is our logical partner, and we hope the Corps can find ways to expand its mission in order to achieve these goals.”

Water supply “is going to be the next biggest problem for coming generations,” said Lindsay Gouedy, education coordinator for the Louisiana Sparta Groundwater Commission.

The Sparta aquifer supplies water for 15 parishes, Gouedy noted, eight of which have no other source of potable water.

“Our challenge is, how can we bring everyone on board to preserve these critical water resources,” Gouedy said. “If we don’t do this, we will be leaving to our children the water problems we’re not dealing with today. We need to do more to educate people about these water issues and the need for conservation of these vital resources.”