Jane Rogers is among the many Raleigh residents who have continued to practice the water conservation habits they adopted during the last drought.

From 1984 to 1991 -- for seven years -- North Carolina sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in federal court to block a permit that enabled the city of Virginia Beach to transfer 60 million gallons of water per day from Lake Gaston on the Roanoke River 76 miles to Virginia Beach. North Carolina ultimately lost.

North Carolina and Georgia have much in common. Both have coastal, piedmont and mountain regions. Each state has 9 million citizens and is projected to have more than 12 million by 2030. Both have worked hard to diversify their economies. Both are major producers of food and fiber. Each state has sprawling metropolitan areas and struggling small towns and counties. Both also have major population centers located in the piedmont with headwaters streams and limited groundwater resources.

Water: It's essential to life itself. We drink it. We wash with it. We cool our power plants with it. We grow our food with it. We manufacture with it. We dispose of our waste in it. It sustains both our environment and our economy.

Much of the South's post-war population growth has followed the Piedmont Crescent from the Research Triangle region through the Triad, Charlotte, Upstate South Carolina, Atlanta to Birmingham. The cities and counties of "Rallatantingham" are located in the headwaters of streams on fractured bedrock with relatively small amounts of surface water and ground water available to them.

U.S. lawmakers took a big step forward on climate change legislation this week, but the cratering economy makes it unlikely Congress will approve a controversial cap and trade system this year.

U.S. Representative Edward Markey says his committee should be in charge. No, says fellow Democrat Collin Peterson, this one should fall under my panel.

Three organizations conducting non-partisan research on federal policies involving climate change, including cap-and-trade legislation, will share more than $1.6 million in grants from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

City and Duke Energy are arguing to keep stake in S.C. suit over Catawba

Brian C. Murray Ph.D. is director for economic analysis at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and research professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment. His work focuses on the economics of climate change policy, including the design of cap-and-trade policy elements to address cost containment and inclusion of offsets from traditionally uncapped sectors such as forestry and agriculture.