Groundwater: Diminishing Resource, Increasing Conflict. Westerberg. Wis. Law. July/Aug. 2015.
Great Lakes — St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. 281.343(1)(1)
The legislature determines that it is in the interests of this state to ratify the Great Lakes — St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. Nothing in this section may be interpreted to change the application of the public trust doctrine under article IX, section 1
, of the Wisconsin Constitution or to create any new public trust rights.
The Great Lakes — St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, contained in subs. (1e)
, is ratified and approved, as implemented and interpreted in ss. 14.95
, and 281.348
In this section, except as otherwise required by the context:
“Adaptive management" means a water resources management system that provides a systematic process for evaluation, monitoring, and learning from the outcomes of operational programs and adjustment of policies, plans, and programs based on experience and the evolution of scientific knowledge concerning water resources and water dependent natural resources.
“Agreement" means the Great Lakes — St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement.
“Applicant" means a person who is required to submit a proposal that is subject to management and regulation under this compact. “Application" has a corresponding meaning.
“Basin" or “Great Lakes — St. Lawrence River Basin" means the watershed of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River upstream from Trois-Rivieres, Quebec within the jurisdiction of the parties.
“Basin ecosystem" or “Great Lakes — St. Lawrence River Basin ecosystem" means the interacting components of air, land, water, and living organisms, including humankind, within the basin.
“Community within a straddling county" means any incorporated city, town, or the equivalent thereof, that is located outside the basin but wholly within a county that lies partly within the basin and that is not a straddling community.
“Consumptive use" means that portion of the water withdrawn or withheld from the basin that is lost or otherwise not returned to the basin due to evaporation, incorporation into products, or other processes.
“Council" means the Great Lakes — St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council, created by this compact.
“Council review" means the collective review by the council members as described in subs. (4)
“County" means the largest territorial division for local government in a state. The county boundaries shall be defined as those boundaries that exist as of December 13, 2005.
“Cumulative impacts" means the impact on the basin ecosystem that results from incremental effects of all aspects of a withdrawal, diversion, or consumptive use in addition to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future withdrawals, diversions, and consumptive uses regardless of who undertakes the other withdrawals, diversions, and consumptive uses. Cumulative impacts can result from individually minor but collectively significant withdrawals, diversions, and consumptive uses taking place over a period of time.
“Decision-making standard" means the decision-making standard established by sub. (4r)
for proposals subject to management and regulation in sub. (4p)
“Diversion" means a transfer of water from the basin into another watershed, or from the watershed of one of the Great Lakes into that of another by any means of transfer, including but not limited to a pipeline, canal, tunnel, aqueduct, channel, modification of the direction of a water course, a tanker ship, tanker truck, or rail tanker but does not apply to water that is used in the basin or a Great Lake watershed to manufacture or produce a product that is then transferred out of the basin or watershed. “Divert" has a corresponding meaning.
“Environmentally sound and economically feasible water conservation measures" mean those measures, methods, technologies, or practices for efficient water use and for reduction of water loss and waste or for reducing a withdrawal, consumptive use, or diversion that are environmentally sound, reflect best practices applicable to the water use sector, are technically feasible and available, are economically feasible and cost-effective based on an analysis that considers direct and avoided economic and environmental costs, and consider the particular facilities and processes involved, taking into account the environmental impact, age of equipment and facilities involved, the processes employed, energy impacts, and other appropriate factors.
“Exception" means a transfer of water that is excepted under sub. (4n)
from the prohibition against diversions in sub. (4m)
“Intrabasin transfer" means the transfer of water from the watershed of one of the Great Lakes into the watershed of another Great Lake.
“Measures" means any legislation, law, regulation, directive, requirement, guideline, program, policy, administrative practice, or other procedure.
“New or increased diversion" means a new diversion, an increase in an existing diversion, or the alteration of an existing withdrawal so that it becomes a diversion.
“New or increased withdrawal or consumptive use" means a new withdrawal or consumptive use or an increase in an existing withdrawal or consumptive use.
“Originating party" means the party within whose jurisdiction an application or registration is made or required.
“Party" means a state that is a party to this compact.
“Person" means a human being or a legal person, including a government or a nongovernmental organization, including any scientific, professional, business, nonprofit, or public interest organization or association that is neither affiliated with, nor under the direction of a government.
“Product" means something produced in the basin by human or mechanical effort or through agricultural processes and used in manufacturing, commercial, or other processes or intended for intermediate or end use consumers.
Water used as part of the packaging of a product shall be considered to be part of the product.
Other than water used as part of the packaging of a product, water that is used primarily to transport materials in or out of the basin is not a product or part of a product.
Except as provided in subd. 2.
, water that is transferred as part of a public or private supply is not a product or part of a product.
Water in its natural state such as in lakes, rivers, reservoirs, aquifers, or water basins is not a product.
“Proposal" means a withdrawal, diversion, or consumptive use of water that is subject to this compact.
“Public water supply purposes" means water distributed to the public through a physically connected system of treatment, storage, and distribution facilities serving a group of largely residential customers that may also serve industrial, commercial, and other institutional operators. Water withdrawn directly from the basin and not through such a system shall not be considered to be used for public water supply purposes.
“Regional body" means the members of the council and the premiers of Ontario and Quebec or their designee as established by the agreement.
“Regional review" means the collective review by the regional body as described in sub. (4h)
“Source watershed" means the watershed from which a withdrawal originates. If water is withdrawn directly from a Great Lake or from the St. Lawrence River, then the source watershed shall be considered to be the watershed of that Great Lake or the watershed of the St. Lawrence River, respectively. If water is withdrawn from the watershed of a stream that is a direct tributary to a Great Lake or a direct tributary to the St. Lawrence River, then the source watershed shall be considered to be the watershed of that Great Lake or the watershed of the St. Lawrence River, respectively, with a preference to the direct tributary stream watershed from which it was withdrawn.
“Standard of review and decision" means the exception standard, decision-making standard, and reviews as outlined in subs. (4)
“State" means one of the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, or Wisconsin or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“Straddling community" means any incorporated city, town, or the equivalent thereof, wholly within any county that lies partly or completely within the basin, whose corporate boundary existing as of the effective date of this compact is partly within the basin or partly within 2 Great Lakes watersheds.
“Technical review" means a detailed review conducted to determine whether or not a proposal that requires regional review under this compact meets the standard of review and decision following procedures and guidelines as set out in this compact.
“Water" means groundwater or surface water contained within the basin.
“Water dependent natural resources" means the interacting components of land, water, and living organisms affected by the waters of the basin.
“Waters of the basin" or “basin water" means the Great Lakes and all streams, rivers, lakes, connecting channels, and other bodies of water, including tributary groundwater, within the basin.
“Withdrawal" means the taking of water from surface water or groundwater. “Withdraw" has a corresponding meaning.
Findings and purposes.
The legislative bodies of the respective parties hereby find and declare:
The waters of the basin are precious public natural resources shared and held in trust by the states;
The waters of the basin are interconnected and part of a single hydrologic system;
The waters of the basin can concurrently serve multiple uses. Such multiple uses include municipal, public, industrial, commercial, agriculture, mining, navigation, energy development and production, recreation, the subsistence, economic, and cultural activities of native peoples, water quality maintenance, and the maintenance of fish and wildlife habitat and a balanced ecosystem. And, other purposes are encouraged, recognizing that such uses are interdependent and must be balanced;
Future diversions and consumptive uses of basin water resources have the potential to significantly impact the environment, economy, and welfare of the Great Lakes — St. Lawrence River region;
Continued sustainable, accessible, and adequate water supplies for the people and economy of the basin are of vital importance; and
The parties have a shared duty to protect, conserve, restore, improve, and manage the renewable but finite waters of the basin for the use, benefit, and enjoyment of all their citizens, including generations yet to come. The most effective means of protecting, conserving, restoring, improving, and managing the basin waters is through the joint pursuit of unified and cooperative principles, policies, and programs mutually agreed upon, enacted, and adhered to by all parties.
To act together to protect, conserve, restore, improve, and effectively manage the waters and water dependent natural resources of the basin under appropriate arrangements for intergovernmental cooperation and consultation because current lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to protect the basin ecosystem;
To provide for cooperative planning and action by the parties with respect to such water resources;
To facilitate consistent approaches to water management across the basin while retaining state management authority over water management decisions within the basin;
To facilitate the exchange of data, strengthen the scientific information base upon which decisions are made, and engage in consultation on the potential effects of proposed withdrawals and losses on the waters and water dependent natural resources of the basin;
To prevent significant adverse impacts of withdrawals and losses on the basin's ecosystems and watersheds;
To promote an adaptive management approach to the conservation and management of basin water resources that recognizes, considers, and provides adjustments for the uncertainties in, and evolution of, scientific knowledge concerning the basin's waters and water dependent natural resources.
The parties commit to provide leadership for the development of a collaborative strategy with other regional partners to strengthen the scientific basis for sound water management decision making under this compact.
The strategy shall guide the collection and application of scientific information to support:
An improved understanding of the individual and cumulative impacts of withdrawals from various locations and water sources on the basin ecosystem and to develop a mechanism by which impacts of withdrawals may be assessed;
The periodic assessment of cumulative impacts of withdrawals, diversions, and consumptive uses on a Great Lake and St. Lawrence River watershed basis;
Improved scientific understanding of the waters of the basin;
Improved understanding of the role of groundwater in basin water resources management; and
The development, transfer, and application of science and research related to water conservation and water use efficiency.
The Great Lakes — St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council is hereby created as a body politic and corporate, with succession for the duration of this compact, as an agency and instrumentality of the governments of the respective parties.
The council shall consist of the governors of the parties, ex officio.
Each member of the council shall appoint at least one alternate who may act in his or her place and stead, with authority to attend all meetings of the council and with power to vote in the absence of the member. Unless otherwise provided by law of the party for which he or she is appointed, each alternate shall serve during the term of the member appointing him or her, subject to removal at the pleasure of the member. In the event of a vacancy in the office of alternate, it shall be filled in the same manner as an original appointment for the unexpired term only.
Each member is entitled to one vote on all matters that may come before the council.
Unless otherwise stated, the rule of decision shall be by a simple majority.
The council shall annually adopt a budget for each fiscal year and the amount required to balance the budget shall be apportioned equitably among the parties by unanimous vote of the council. The appropriation of such amounts shall be subject to such review and approval as may be required by the budgetary processes of the respective parties.
The participation of council members from a majority of the parties shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting of the council.
Organization and procedure.
The council shall provide for its own organization and procedure, and may adopt rules and regulations governing its meetings and transactions, as well as the procedures and timeline for submission, review, and consideration of proposals that come before the council for its review and action. The council shall organize, annually, by the election of a chairperson and vice chairperson from among its members. Each member may appoint an advisor, who may attend all meetings of the council and its committees, but shall not have voting power. The council may employ or appoint professional and administrative personnel, including an executive director, as it may deem advisable, to carry out the purposes of this compact.
Use of existing offices and agencies.
It is the policy of the parties to preserve and utilize the functions, powers, and duties of existing offices and agencies of government to the extent consistent with this compact. Further, the council shall promote and aid the coordination of the activities and programs of the parties concerned with water resources management in the basin. To this end, but without limitation, the council may:
Advise, consult, contract, assist, or otherwise cooperate with any and all such agencies;
Employ any other agency or instrumentality of any of the parties for any purpose; and
Develop and adopt plans consistent with the water resources plans of the parties.
The council shall have, exercise, and discharge its functions, powers, and duties within the limits of the basin. Outside the basin, it may act in its discretion, but only to the extent such action may be necessary or convenient to effectuate or implement its powers or responsibilities within the basin and subject to the consent of the jurisdiction wherein it proposes to act.