Designated study area
This bill also requires DNR to evaluate and model the hydrology of Pleasant
Lake in Waushara County and the Fourteenmile Creek Watershed, the Mecan River
Watershed, and the Pine River and Willow Creek Watershed, located in parts of
Adams, Green Lake, Juneau, Marquette, Portage, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago,
and Wood counties (defined in the bill as the “designated study area”). DNR must
begin its evaluation of the study area within one year after the effective date of the
bill. If DNR determines that special measures relating to existing and potential
groundwater withdrawal are necessary in all or part of the study area to prevent or
remedy a significant reduction of a navigable stream's or navigable lake's rate of flow
or water level below its average seasonal levels, DNR must issue a decision on
whether it recommends that the legislature adopt, by statute, special measures
relating to groundwater withdrawal in all or part of that area. DNR must hold a
public hearing on its decision. Following the public hearing, the bill requires DNR
to submit a report to the legislature describing what special measures, if any, it
recommends that the legislature adopt in all or part of the study area. DNR must
submit this report within three years after beginning its study of the study area.
The bill requires the owner of a new high capacity well located in the study area,
or an owner who replaces, reconstructs, or transfers ownership of a high capacity
well located in the study area, to provide, with the annual pumping report that it
submits to DNR, readings from a water meter showing the well's water usage.
The bill also permits DNR to provide a qualified lake association or lake district
with an approval to construct a high capacity well for the purpose of providing water
to a lake located in the study area to assist DNR in evaluating and modeling the
hydrology of that area, if DNR determines that the lake's water level has been
significantly reduced below its average seasonal levels. Under the bill, DNR must
waive the application fee and expedite the review and approval process for an
application submitted by a qualified lake association or lake district, and may not
issue an approval if it determines that providing water from the proposed high
capacity well to a lake is likely to result in a violation of water quality standards for
that lake. DNR must also develop and administer a financial assistance program to
provide grants to qualified lake associations and lake districts to construct high
capacity wells for this purpose.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB105,1 1Section 1. 281.34 (1) (ek) of the statutes is created to read:
AB105,3,2
1281.34 (1) (ek) “Reconstruct" means to modify original construction including
2deepening, lining, installing or replacing a screen, and underreaming.
AB105,2 3Section 2. 281.34 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB105,3,94 281.34 (2) Approval required for high capacity wells. An Except as provided
5under sub. (2g), an
owner shall apply to the department for approval before
6construction of a high capacity well begins. No Except as provided under sub. (2g),
7no
person may construct or withdraw water from a high capacity well without the
8approval of the department under this section or under s. 281.17 (1), 2001 stats. An
9owner applying for approval under this subsection shall pay a fee of $500.
AB105,3 10Section 3. 281.34 (2g) of the statutes is created to read:
AB105,3,1511 281.34 (2g) Repair, replacement, reconstruction, and transfer of ownership
12of an approved high capacity well.
(a) Except as provided in par. (e), if a high
13capacity well has been approved under this section or under s. 281.17 (1), 2001 stats.,
14the owner of that well may take any of the following actions without obtaining an
15additional approval under this section:
AB105,3,1616 1. Repair and maintain the high capacity well.
AB105,3,2217 2. Construct a new high capacity well to replace the existing high capacity well
18if the new high capacity well will be constructed in accordance with department
19standards that apply to the construction of new high capacity wells on the date that
20construction of the replacement high capacity well begins, if the existing high
21capacity well is filled and sealed as provided in rules promulgated by the
22department, and if any of the following applies:
AB105,3,2523 a. The purpose of replacement is to remedy or prevent contamination. The
24owner of the well shall submit documentation of the contamination to the
25department in the manner and form required by the department.
AB105,4,5
1b. The replacement high capacity well will be drilled to substantially the same
2depth as the existing high capacity well and either will be located within a 75-foot
3radius of the existing high capacity well or will be located farther from the nearest
4groundwater protection area than the existing high capacity well and not be located
5within any other groundwater protection area.
AB105,4,86 3. Reconstruct the high capacity well, if the reconstructed high capacity well
7is constructed to substantially the same depth and specifications as the existing high
8capacity well.
AB105,4,109 4. Transfer the approval, concurrent with transferring the land on which the
10high capacity well is located, to the person to whom the land is transferred.
AB105,4,1211 (b) The department may not impose a fee for any action taken under this
12subsection.
AB105,4,1713 (c) No later than 90 days after taking any action under par. (a) 2., 3., or 4., the
14owner of the high capacity well shall notify the department of the action taken on a
15form prescribed by the department. For any action taken under par. (a) 2., the owner
16shall, on the same form, notify the department of the location of the replacement high
17capacity well and the method by which the existing well was filled and sealed.
AB105,4,2018 (d) Except as provided in sub. (7), the conditions included in the approval for
19the high capacity well continue to apply after an owner takes any of the actions under
20par. (a).
AB105,4,2321 (e) An owner of a well may not take an action under par. (a) if the action would
22be inconsistent with the conditions included in the approval for the high capacity
23well.
AB105,4 24Section 4. 281.34 (7m) of the statutes is created to read:
AB105,4,2525 281.34 (7m) Designated study area. (a) In this subsection:
AB105,5,5
11. “Designated study area" means the area made up of the Fourteenmile Creek
2Watershed in Adams, Juneau, Portage, Waushara, and Wood counties, the Mecan
3River Watershed in Green Lake, Marquette, and Waushara counties, and the Pine
4River and Willow Creek Watershed in Waupaca, Waushara, and Winnebago
5counties.
AB105,5,76 2. “Qualified lake association" means an association that meets the
7qualifications under s. 281.68 (3m) (a).
AB105,5,208 (b) The department shall evaluate and model the hydrology of Pleasant Lake
9in Waushara County and any other navigable stream or navigable lake located in the
10designated study area for which the department seeks to determine whether existing
11and potential groundwater withdrawals are causing or are likely to cause a
12significant reduction of the navigable stream's or navigable lake's rate of flow or
13water level below its average seasonal levels. The department may request, under
14s. 13.10, the joint committee on finance to provide funding and positions for the
15evaluation and modeling under this paragraph. The evaluation under this
16paragraph shall include all relevant factors that may affect groundwater and water
17levels and rates of flow of navigable waters, including topography, ground cover,
18annual and seasonal variations in precipitation, and plant life. The department
19shall begin the evaluation and modeling under this paragraph no later than one year
20after the effective date of this paragraph .... [LRB inserts date].
AB105,6,521 (c) If upon conclusion of the evaluation and modeling of the area under par. (b)
22the department determines that special measures relating to existing and potential
23groundwater withdrawal are necessary in all or part of that area to prevent or
24remedy a significant reduction of a navigable stream's or navigable lake's rate of flow
25or water level below its average seasonal levels, the department shall issue a decision

1on whether it recommends that the legislature adopt, by statute, special measures
2relating to groundwater withdrawal in all or part of that area. If the department
3issues a decision recommending that the legislature adopt, by statute, special
4measures relating to groundwater withdrawal in all or part of that area, the decision
5shall contain all of the following information:
AB105,6,96 1. A description of the extent to which the department has determined that
7cumulative groundwater withdrawals in all or part of the area cause, or are expected
8to cause, a significant reduction of a navigable stream's or navigable lake's rate of
9flow or water level below its average seasonal levels.
AB105,6,1710 2. A description of the concrete scientific information that the department used
11to establish that there is a hydrologic connection between the groundwater in all or
12part of the area and the navigable waters in all or part of the area and a causal
13relationship between groundwater withdrawal in all or part of the area and an
14existing or potential significant reduction of a navigable stream's or navigable lake's
15rate of flow or water level below its average seasonal levels, and the degree to which
16the department verified the connection and causal relationship by the use of field
17work or field study.
AB105,6,2518 3. A description of the geographical boundaries of the area to which the
19department recommends special measures relating to groundwater withdrawal
20should apply. The department shall identify in the description the specific navigable
21water or part of the navigable water that is or may be affected by cumulative
22groundwater withdrawals and shall identify the location of the groundwater
23withdrawals that the department has determined are causing or may cause a
24significant reduction of a navigable stream's or navigable lake's rate of flow or water
25level below its average seasonal levels.
AB105,7,4
14. Any proposed special measures in the area described under subd. 3. that the
2department recommends that the legislature adopt, by statute, to prevent or remedy
3a significant reduction of a navigable stream's or navigable lake's rate of flow or
4water level below its average seasonal levels.
AB105,7,75 5. An economic impact analysis of the economic effect of the special measures
6recommended under subd. 4. on specific businesses, business sectors, public utility
7ratepayers, local governmental units, and the state's economy as a whole.
AB105,7,128 (d) The department shall hold a public informational hearing to solicit
9comments on the department's decision under par. (c). The department shall give
10notice of the hearing to each person who owns land in the area that would be affected
11by the proposed special measures under par. (c) 4. and to each owner of a well in that
12area if the well owner has notified the department of the location of that well.
AB105,7,2013 (e) After holding the public hearing under par. (d), the department shall
14prepare a report on whether it recommends that the legislature adopt, by statute,
15special measures relating to groundwater withdrawal in the area described in its
16decision under par. (c) 3. No later than 3 years after beginning the evaluation and
17modeling under par. (b), the department shall submit the report to the joint
18committee on finance and to the chief clerk of each house of the legislature, for
19distribution under s. 13.172 (3) to the appropriate legislative standing committees
20generally responsible for legislation related to environmental issues.
AB105,8,721 (f) If the department recommends in its report submitted under par. (e) that the
22legislature adopt, by statute, special measures relating to groundwater withdrawal
23in the area described in its decision under par. (c) 3., the department shall prepare
24an additional report specifying the special measures relating to groundwater
25withdrawal in that area that the department recommends that the legislature adopt,

1by statute, to prevent or remedy a significant reduction of a navigable stream's or
2navigable lake's rate of flow or water level below its average seasonal levels. No later
3than 3 years after beginning the evaluation and modeling under par. (b), the
4department shall submit the report to the joint committee on finance and to the chief
5clerk of each house of the legislature, for distribution under s. 13.172 (3) to the
6appropriate legislative standing committees generally responsible for legislation
7related to environmental issues.
AB105,8,118 (g) Neither a decision of the department under par. (c) nor a recommendation
9of the department under par. (e) are final decisions. Notwithstanding ss. 227.42 (1)
10and 227.52, no person is entitled to administrative or judicial review of a department
11decision under par. (c) or a department recommendation under par. (e).
AB105,8,1612 (h) The special measures relating to groundwater withdrawal recommended
13by the department under par. (c) 4. or par. (f) shall not be effective unless adopted by
14the legislature by statute. Notwithstanding par. (j), nothing in this subsection shall
15affect the department's review of applications and issuance of approvals for high
16capacity wells located in the area studied under par. (b).
AB105,8,2317 (i) The owner of a high capacity well that is constructed in the area studied
18under par. (b) after the effective date of this paragraph .... [LRB inserts date], or who
19takes any of the actions described in sub. (2g) (a) 2. to 4. in the area studied under
20par. (b) after the effective date of this paragraph .... [LRB inserts date], shall provide
21to the department, with the owner's annual pumping report under sub. (5) (e) 2.,
22readings of a water meter showing the volume of water usage of that high capacity
23well in gallons.
AB105,9,1324 (j) 1. The department may issue an approval under this section to a qualified
25lake association or lake district to construct and operate a new high capacity well,

1or to operate an existing approved high capacity well, for the sole purpose of
2providing water to a lake that is located wholly or partially in the area studied under
3par. (b) to assist the department in evaluating and modeling the hydrology of that
4area under par. (b), if the department determines that the lake's water level has been
5significantly reduced below its average seasonal levels. For any approval application
6submitted by a qualified lake association or lake district under this paragraph, the
7department shall waive the application fee under sub. (2), expedite the review and
8approval process to the greatest extent possible, and include, as a condition of the
9approval, a limit on the water level of the lake that may be reached as a result of the
10water provided by the proposed well. The department may not issue an approval to
11a qualified lake association or lake district under this paragraph if it determines that
12providing water from the proposed high capacity well to a lake is likely to result in
13a violation of a water quality standard under s. 281.15 for that lake.
AB105,9,1914 2. The department shall develop and administer a financial assistance
15program to provide assistance to qualified lake associations and lake districts for all
16or part of the cost of constructing or operating an approved high capacity well under
17this paragraph. The financial assistance program shall include provisions relating
18to cost-sharing from qualified lake associations and lake districts receiving
19assistance under the program.
AB105,9,2220 3. The department shall consider, in its evaluation and modeling under par. (b),
21the effects of the groundwater withdrawal and the supply of water to a lake resulting
22from any high capacity well constructed under this paragraph.
AB105,9,2523 (k) Paragraphs (i) and (j) cease to apply in, and, notwithstanding sub. (7),
24approvals shall expire that were issued under par. (j) in, any part of the area studied
25under par. (b) to which any of the following applies:
AB105,10,3
11. The department submits a report under par. (e) recommending that no
2special measures relating to groundwater withdrawal in that part of the area be
3adopted.
AB105,10,54 2. The department does not submit the report under par. (e) or (f) within 3 years
5after beginning the evaluation and modeling under par. (b).
AB105,10,86 3. The legislature does not adopt, by statute, special measures relating to
7groundwater withdrawal in that part of the area within 12 months after receiving
8a report from the department under par. (f).
AB105,10,109 4. The legislature adopts, by statute, special measures relating to groundwater
10withdrawal in that part of the area.
AB105,10,1111 (End)
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