LRB-4931/1
MDK:klm
2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
January 24, 2020 - Introduced by Representatives Kurtz, Pope, Summerfield,
Novak, Shankland, Hebl, Kitchens, Felzkowski, Zimmerman, Kulp,
Gruszynski, Mursau, Sargent, Anderson, Considine, Doyle, Subeck,
Tranel, Swearingen, Petryk, C. Taylor, Vining, Spreitzer, Edming, Sinicki,
Emerson, Cabrera, Ohnstad, Zamarripa, Vruwink, Billings, Tusler,
Thiesfeldt and Allen, cosponsored by Senators Jacque and Olsen. Referred
to Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight.
AB799,1,2 1An Act to create 15.916, 20.285 (1) (ar), 36.25 (8m) and 36.70 of the statutes;
2relating to: creating an office of water policy and making an appropriation.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill creates an Office of Water Policy that is attached to the University of
Wisconsin System and housed within the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History
Survey of the Division of Extension of UW-Madison. The purpose of the office is to
coordinate efforts to manage, conserve, protect, and enhance the productivity of the
state's water resources for domestic, municipal, commercial, agricultural, industrial,
recreational, and other private and public uses. The office must engage in specified
analytical and evaluative activities, act as a liaison to the Blue Accounting initiative
of the commission created by the Great Lakes basin compact, and submit a biennial
report to the governor and the legislature on its activities. The office is authorized
to provide technical assistance to local governments. The bill requires state
agencies, upon the request of the office, to cooperate and assist the office in carrying
out its duties and exercising its powers.
The bill requires the governor to appoint as director of the office an individual
with experience in managing water resources for a wide range of uses with a priority
on experience in both agricultural and industrial uses. The joint committee on
legislative organization must concur with the appointment. The bill creates the
following duties for the director:
Public dashboard. No later than December 31, 2021, the director must create
a publicly accessible user-friendly dashboard for municipal water quality reports,
private well data, and surface water quality information. The dashboard must be

compiled from information from the Public Service Commission, the Department of
Health Services, the Department of Natural Resources, campuses of the University
of Wisconsin System, the Division of Extension of the University of
Wisconsin-Madison, and other other credible organizations.
Sharing information. The director must facilitate and make
recommendations for sharing information between state agencies, campuses of the
University of Wisconsin System, and other stakeholders.
Job opportunities. The director must work with the Department of Workforce
Development to analyze national and state demand for job opportunities in the area
of water quality and proactively solicit private sector employers to gather data on
those opportunities. No later than December 31, 2021, the director must submit a
report on the data to the Board of Regents of the UW System. The report must
include an analysis of undergraduate and graduate water programs at colleges and
universities around the nation and must focus on the strength and nationwide
reputation of those programs. The Board of Regents must use the information
contained in the report to avoid program repetition in designing new programs that
address the demand for water quality programs.
Area water quality challenges. The director must divide the state into areas
to better understand each area's diverse and localized water quality issues. No later
than December 31, 2021, the director must prepare a report on each area's unique
water quality challenges, including their severity, and each area's known level of
specific contaminants. The report must also describe the overall success of state and
federal water quality programs in each area.
Soil nutrient application planner. The director must work with DNR, the
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and the Department of
Soil Science of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences of the UW-Madison to
recommend how to improve or expand the soil nutrient application planner
developed by the UW-Madison to better address the unique water quality challenges
of the areas described above.
Statewide programs. The director must assess the feasibility of establishing
statewide programs for promoting water efficiency and conservation and improving
water quality that are similar to statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource
programs (commonly known as Focus on Energy programs), which are established
and funded by investor-owned electric and natural gas public utilities under current
law. The assessment must address the feasibility of establishing a rebate program
for purchasing water filtration systems.
For further information see the state fiscal estimate, which will be printed as
an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB799,1 1Section 1. 15.916 of the statutes is created to read:
AB799,3,4
115.916 Same; attached office. There is created an office of water policy
2attached to the University of Wisconsin System under s. 15.03. The office shall be
3housed within the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey of the Division
4of Extension of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
AB799,2 5Section 2. 20.005 (3) (schedule) of the statutes: at the appropriate place, insert
6the following amounts for the purposes indicated: - See PDF for table PDF
AB799,3 7Section 3. 20.285 (1) (ar) of the statutes is created to read:
AB799,3,98 20.285 (1) (ar) Office of water policy. The amounts in the schedule for general
9program operations of the office of water policy.
AB799,4 10Section 4. 36.25 (8m) of the statutes is created to read:
AB799,3,1411 36.25 (8m) Water quality programs. The Board of Regents shall use the
12information contained in the report submitted by the director of the office of water
13quality under s. 36.70 (4) (b) 2. to avoid program repetition in designing new
14programs that address the demand for water quality programs.
AB799,5 15Section 5. 36.70 of the statutes is created to read:
AB799,3,16 1636.70 Office of water policy. (1) Definitions. In this section:
AB799,3,1717 (a) “Commission” means the Great Lakes commission created by the compact.
AB799,3,1918 (b) “Compact” means the Great Lakes basin compact ratified and enacted by
19chapter 275, laws of 1955.
AB799,4,1
1(c) “Office” means the office of water policy.
AB799,4,32 (d) “State agency” means any office, department, independent agency, council,
3commission, or board in the executive branch of Wisconsin state government.
AB799,4,7 4(2) Purpose. The purpose of the office shall be to coordinate efforts to manage,
5conserve, protect, and enhance the productivity of the state's water resources for
6domestic, municipal, commercial, agricultural, industrial, recreational, and other
7private and public uses.
AB799,4,10 8(3) Powers and duties. (a) The office shall collect, analyze, interpret, and
9maintain the comprehensive data needed for effective water resource planning and
10effective review of those plans by the governor and the legislature.
AB799,4,1411 (b) The office shall evaluate statutory requirements, state agency rules, and
12legislative proposals related to state water policy and, as determined by the office,
13make recommendations to the governor, the legislature, and state agencies for
14implementing or improving those requirements, rules, or proposals.
AB799,4,1615 (c) The office shall act as a liaison to the commission's Blue Accounting
16initiative to assist the state in meeting its obligations under the compact.
AB799,4,2117 (d) The office may provide technical assistance to units of government other
18than the state to assist in planning and implementing water resource policies. The
19office may charge for any assistance provided under this paragraph. The office may
20request technical and staff assistance from other state agencies in providing
21technical assistance to those units of government.
AB799,4,2522 (e) The office shall prepare a biennial report of its activities and submit the
23report to the governor and the chief clerk of each house of the legislature, for
24distribution to the legislature under s. 13.172 (2), no later than January 15 of each
25odd-numbered year.
AB799,5,7
1(4) Director. (a) Appointment. Subject to the concurrence of the joint
2committee on legislative organization, the governor shall appoint as director of the
3office an individual with experience in managing water resources for a wide range
4of uses, with a priority on experience with both agricultural and industrial uses. The
5director shall serve at the pleasure of the governor. The board shall create one
6full-time position for the director to be funded from the appropriation under s.
720.285 (1) (ar).
AB799,5,168 (b) Duties. 1. The director shall facilitate and make recommendations for
9sharing information between state agencies, campuses of the system, and other
10stakeholders and, as soon as practicable but no later than December 31, 2021, create
11a user-friendly dashboard for the public to easily access municipal water quality
12reports, private well data, and surface water quality information that is compiled
13from information from the public service commission, the department of health
14services, the department of natural resources, campuses of the system, the Division
15of Extension of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and other other credible
16organizations.
AB799,5,2417 2. The director shall work with the department of workforce development to
18analyze demand for public and private sector job opportunities in the area of water
19quality both nationally and in this state, proactively solicit private sector employers
20to gather data on prospective job opportunities, and, as soon as practicable but no
21later than December 31, 2021, submit a report on that data to the board. The report
22required under this subdivision shall include an analysis of undergraduate and
23graduate water programs at colleges and universities around the nation and shall
24focus on the strength and nationwide reputation of those programs.
AB799,6,10
13. The director shall divide the state into areas for the purpose of better
2understanding the diverse and localized water quality issues in each area. The
3number of areas and metrics used to map the areas shall be at the discretion of the
4director. As soon as practicable but no later than December 31, 2021, the director
5shall prepare a report on the unique water quality challenges in each area, the
6severity of those challenges, and the known level of specific contaminants in those
7areas. The report shall also describe the overall success of state and federal water
8quality programs in each area, including participation in each program, resources
9spent on each program, and available metrics to determine the success of each
10program.
AB799,6,1711 4. The director shall work with the department of natural resources, the
12department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection, and the department of
13soil science of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences of the University of
14Wisconsin-Madison to provide recommendations on how to improve or expand the
15soil nutrient application planner developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison
16to better address the unique water quality challenges of the areas of the state
17described in subd. 3.
AB799,6,2218 5. The director shall assess the feasibility of establishing statewide programs
19for promoting water efficiency and conservation and improving water quality that
20are similar to the statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource programs
21established under s. 196.374 (2) (a) 1. The assessment shall address the feasibility
22of establishing a rebate program for purchasing water filtration systems.
AB799,7,3
1(5) State agency assistance. Upon the request of the office, a state agency shall
2cooperate with the office and assist the office with carrying out its duties and
3exercising its powers.
AB799,7,44 (End)
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