Advocates of new water regulation contend that Michigan lags other Great Lakes states in protecting groundwater and surface water withdrawals. It is a claim that Gov. Granholm has repeated on numerous occasions, as in her letter to the Legislature urging passage of the Water Legacy Act. "We’re the only state in the Great Lakes that doesn’t have a law protecting our greatest resource," she said.

Most other states in the region do not require permits for groundwater withdrawals, nor are existing regulations elsewhere as stringent as those the governor has proposed.

In fact, most other states in the region do not require permits for groundwater withdrawals, nor are existing regulations elsewhere as stringent as those the governor has proposed.

Water is intensively regulated by all states, as well as by the federal government, both to ensure the safety of drinking water and to protect surface and groundwater from contamination. Also common are state standards for the design and construction of wells and water-system infrastructure. The current debate, however, is focused on regulating the volume of groundwater withdrawals. What follows are synopses of these regulations in other Great Lakes states drawn from the statutory language as well as information provided by regulators.

Indiana

Permits: Indiana does not require permits for groundwater withdrawals.

Registration: All facilities with a capacity for withdrawing 100,000 gallons of water per day are required to register with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as "significant water withdrawal facilities."

Reporting: Annual reports on water withdrawals are required for every facility with the capacity to withdraw more than 100,000 gallons of water per day.

Aquifer Protection: Indiana law empowers the Department of Natural Resources to restrict withdrawals by a "significant water withdrawal facility" if water levels fall below normal fluctuations, or neighboring wells fail to furnish normal supplies of water. On proof of a causal connection, a "significant" water withdrawal facility may be required to provide potable water to affected well owners and reimburse expenses.

Ohio

Permits: Ohio does not require permits for groundwater withdrawals.

Registration: All facilities with a capacity for withdrawing 100,000 gallons of water per day are required to register with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Reporting: Annual reports on water withdrawals are required for every facility with the capacity to withdraw more than 100,000 gallons of water per day.

Aquifer Protection: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources may limit water withdrawals where the agency designates a "groundwater stress area." (To date, no such designations have been made.) The agency also is empowered to require owners of high-capacity wells to supply water to neighboring well owners if the larger facility is found to be diminishing the supplies of smaller wells.

Illinois

Permits: Illinois does not require permits for groundwater withdrawals. State regulators may restrict withdrawals in the counties of Iroquois, Kankakee, McLean and Tazewell. State law also allows voters to establish by referendum a local authority to regulate groundwater withdrawals. (Withdrawals for agriculture and domestic use are exempt from such regulation.)

Registration: Facilities that can be expected to withdraw more than 100,000 gallons of groundwater per day must register with their local Soil and Water Conservation District.

Reporting: The Illinois Water Inventory Program tracks withdrawals of groundwater and surface water.

New York

Permits: New York does not require permits for groundwater withdrawals used for private purposes. A permit is required to install or expand a public water supply, although exemptions exist for some municipal and county systems.

Registration: Facilities planning to withdraw an average of 100,000 gallons of water per day in a consecutive 30-day period must register with the New York Department of Conservation.

Reporting: Facilities that withdraw more than an average of two million gallons per day in a consecutive 30-day period must report to the state any new or increased operating capacity, as well as the average monthly and annual rates of discharge or return flow.

Pennsylvania

Permits: Pennsylvania does not require permits for most groundwater withdrawals. A permit is required in the five-county region designated as the "Southeastern Pennsylvania Ground Water Protected Area" if a well system withdraws an average of more than 10,000 gallons per day over a 30-day period. A permit is also required in the Susquehanna River Basin for groundwater withdrawals that exceed an average of 100,000 gallons per day for any consecutive 30-day period.

Registration: Registration with the state is required for all public water agencies, hydropower facilities and operations that withdraw or use more than 10,000 gallons per day over any 30-day period.

Reporting: Reports are required of facilities within the Delaware River Basin if groundwater withdrawals exceed 100,000 gallons per day during any 30-day period.

Wisconsin

Permits: Wisconsin requires approval from the state Department of Natural Resources to construct a "high-capacity well," defined as a well that, together with all other wells on the same property, has a capacity of withdrawing more than 100,000 gallons of groundwater per day.

The DNR undertakes an environmental review for any well proposed within 1,200 feet of an "outstanding resource water," (such as a pristine lake, wild river or trout stream); a well that may have a "significant" environmental impact on a spring; a well to be located in an area of groundwater discharge at the land’s surface that results in a flow of at least one cubic foot per second for at least 80 percent of the time; or a well from which more than 95 percent of the withdrawal will be diverted from the basin or consumed.

Reporting: Annual reports are required for facilities that withdraw an average of more than 100,000 gallons of groundwater per day in any 30-day period.

Minnesota

Permits: A permitfrom the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is required for groundwater withdrawals of more than 10,000 gallons per day, or one million gallons per year. Permit exemptions include:

  • Facilities supplying residential water to fewer than 25 persons;

  • Test pumping of a groundwater source;

  • Reuse of groundwater supplied by an authorized facility, e.g., a municipal water system;

  • Certain agricultural drainage systems.

Reporting: Permit holders must submit annual reports that track monthly water withdrawals.

Aquifer Protection: If demand for groundwater exceeds the safe annual yield of the aquifer, the state is required to distribute supplies pro-portionally based on allocation priorities set by state statute.


Graphic 5: Groundwater Regulation in the Great Lakes States

State

General Permit Requirement

Registration Requirement

Reporting Requirement

Indiana

None

Facilities with a capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day.

Annual reports from facilities with a capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day.

Ohio

None

Facilities with a capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day.

Annual reports from facilities with a capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day.

Illinois

None

Facilities with a capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day.

Illinois conducts an annual inventory of water use by survey.

New York

None

Facilities planning to withdraw an average of 100,000 gallons per day in a consecutive 30-day period.

Facilities that withdraw more than an average of two million gallons per day in a consecutive 30-day period.

Pennsylvania

None

Facilities that withdraw or use more than 10,000 gallons per day over any 30-day period.

Facilities within the Delaware River basin if withdrawals exceed 100,000 gallons per day in any 30-day period.

Wisconsin

Facilities with the capacity from all wells on a property to withdraw more than 100,000 gallons per day.

 

Facilities that withdraw 100,000 gallons per day, on average, in any 30-day period.

Minnesota

Facilities that withdraw more than 10,000 gallons per day (with exceptions).

 

Facilities that withdraw more than 10,000 gallons per day.

Proposed for Michigan Under Water Legacy Act

·       Withdrawals exceeding 100,000 gallons per day in any 30-day period if considered likely to cause “adverse impact.”

·       All withdrawals averaging two million gallons per day in a 30-day period, or 100 million gallons per year.

·       As of 2010, all withdrawals averaging 100,000 gallons per day in any 30-day period.

Facilities with the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day, on average, in a consecutive 30-day period.

·       All registered facilities.

·       Permitted facilities, as required by the Department of Natural Resources.

Annex 2001 as Proposed

Withdrawals greater than 100,000 gallons per day, on average, in any 120-day period (as of 2010).

All withdrawals greater than 100,000 gallons per day, on average, in any 30-day period.