Issue: Michigan’s Proposed Water Withdrawal Legislation
Three Lakes Association is concerned about the potential for abusive water withdrawals from groundwater in the State, especially if the withdrawals are from those aquifers that may affect the Elk River Chain of Lakes, a 500 square mile watershed.
We strongly support the passage of a package of House Bills (HB 5065 to 5073), which would provide adequate protection of groundwater while still enabling reasonable withdrawals for agriculture and industry. Passage of water withdrawal legislation would set the stage for passage of the Great Lakes Basin Compact. This Compact is based on a proposed agreement between the states and provinces within the Great Lakes Basin for protecting this water from abusive withdrawals and diversions.
Essentially our support is linked to passage of water withdrawal legislation based on conservative water management practices, as supported by the Great Lakes, Great Michigan Coalition of environmental organizations.
Currently proposed water withdrawal legislation, House Bills and Senate Bills, requires the use of a new Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool for screening purposes, which is a prudent practice. But we are concerned about the forecasts from this tool that would allow water withdrawals without engaging in a permit application and public review process, as proposed in Senate Bill 860. Under Senate Bill 860, some very large water withdrawals could adversely impact stream flows and fish thriving.
As described in HB 5068, the anticipated permitting process for very large withdrawals or withdrawals in sensitive areas is expected to proceed in a timely manner (less than 180 days) and include adequate time for public review and comment. The number of permit applications is expected to be relatively small, in the range of 10 to 20 per year, which could be administered by existing DEQ staff.
You are encouraged to learn more about the proposed legislation by clicking on the link to the Great Lakes/Great Michigan website, which contains links to the complete text of each proposed bill:
And then please call, e-mail, and/or write your elected State Representative and Senator expressing your support for the package of House Bills and your opposition to Senate Bill 860. Right now your elected legislators are receiving lots of encouragement from lobbyist interested in large water withdrawals without permits to pass Senate Bill 860.
For non-Antrim County, Michigan residence:
PDF files with the contact information for the relevant House and Senate Committees –