Here is how the National Wildlife Federation sees it.
Posted with permission and appreciation:
NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION®
Great Lakes Natural Resource Center
213 West Liberty Street, Suite 200
Ann Arbor MI 48104-1398
Progress on Implementation of
Great Lakes Compact
The Future of Water Management in the Great Lakes:
Implementing the Compact and Beyond
Fifth Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference
September 11, 2009
Revised October 20, 2009 with State Input
After a burst of activity in 2006 and 2007, when state legislatures considered whether to adopt the Great Lakes Compact, progress on implementation has been slow. While some big decisions have been made—for example, almost all states have chosen thresholds for regulation of water withdrawals—the details are lacking. Stakeholders must press for protective actions in the next few years, or the Compact will fail to fulfill its promise.
The requirements and their deadlines are:
· By December 8, 2009, a list of baseline volumes for withdrawals, consumptive uses and diversions must be submitted to the Compact Council. These volumes will be used to grandfather in existing users, and thus must be carefully scrutinized.
· By December 8, 2010, water conservation and efficiency goals and objectives must be developed; a water conservation and efficiency program must be implemented; and water conservation measures must be promoted. Strong programs and measures are needed to ensure water will be used thoughtfully, and to ensure there will be enough for the future.
· By December 8, 2013, withdrawals and diversions must be registered and a water management program to regulate new or increased withdrawals and consumptive uses must be developed. The registration program is necessary to know how water is being used in the region. A comprehensive water management program will protect ecosystems from the impact of new or increased withdrawals.
Under the Compact, Illinois' water use is governed by the Supreme Court consent decree on the Chicago diversion. Thus, Illinois is only required to comply with the conservation and registration requirements. On conservation, conservation practices are required for each user of Lake Michigan water from the Chicago diversion; these practices include adoption of ordinances and development of public programs. Groundwater withdrawals are not required to adopt any practices, but there are only a few small withdrawals according to Illinois officials. On registration, Illinois already collects information on in-basin withdrawals through the Lake Michigan allocation program. In addition, the state recently passed a law requiring all persons who withdraw at least 100,000 gallons per day (gpd) of surface and groundwater in the state to report information to the Illinois Water Inventory.
Bottom line: Illinois must develop conservation and efficiency goals and objectives.
When Indiana approved the Compact, it passed legislation that provided a skeletal framework for implementation. On baselines, Indiana is in the process of developing a baseline list. As part of the legislation approving the Compact, the General Assembly declared that the baseline volume would be the total capability reported by facilities with the capability to withdraw more than 100,000 gpd of surface and groundwater. On conservation, the state is to create a voluntary conservation program, to be implemented by rule. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has not issued any rules on a program, though it is possible that the DNR will use elements of a Water Shortage Plan finalized in July 2009. On water management, thresholds have been set for a regulatory program: in excess of 5 million gallons per day (mgd) from Lake Michigan surface water; 100,000 gpd from specified salmonid streams and other watercourses determined by rule; and 1 mgd from any other source. The DNR has not issued any rules to flesh out the regulatory requirements.
Bottom line: Indiana must finalize its baseline list; develop conservation and efficiency goals and objectives; issue rules to create a conservation program; and issue rules to clarify the requirements for permits under the water management program.
When Michigan approved the Compact, it passed comprehensive implementing legislation. On baselines, Michigan is in the process of developing a baseline list using reported capacity or highest annual amount withdrawn. On conservation, an advisory council is tasked with developing recommendations on a program. The report was due last month and is expected to be out soon. In addition, beginning in 2010, registrants and permit holders must acknowledge in an annual report that they have reviewed conservation measures for their sector. On water management, a permit is required for development of new or increased cumulative withdrawal capacity of more than 2 mgd from all waters of the state. Persons who develop capacity to withdraw in excess of 100,000 gpd from streams, rivers, or groundwater are required to use an internet-based assessment tool to determine if there is an adverse resource impact.
Bottom line: Michigan must finalize its baseline list; develop conservation and efficiency goals and objectives; create a conservation program once it receives the advisory council's recommendations; put into place an assessment process for lake withdrawals; and review its permitting program to ensure that it is applying the standard required by the Compact.
Minnesota did not pass legislation to implement the Compact and is instead relying on existing programs. On baselines, the state is using information gathered through its appropriation permits, which are required for water withdrawals that exceed 10,000 gallons per day on one million gallons per year. The state will report the baseline capacity or the approval amount, whichever is higher. On conservation, the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources is charged with creating a conservation program for the state. The DNR requires conservation for all water users subject to the permitting program. Water conservation measures for public water suppliers serving more than 1,000 people include a requirement for a water emergency and conservation plan, adoption of a conservation rate structure, annual reporting of water use by customer categories, and the implementation of demand reduction measures. On water management, the DNR has discretion to consider a broad range of factors in determining whether to grant an appropriation permit, including the information in the Compact standard.
Bottom line: Minnesota must finalize its baseline list; develop conservation and efficiency goals and objectives; and ensure that it uses its discretion so that the appropriation permits in the basin meet all of the criteria in the Compact.
When New York approved the Compact, the Legislature directed an advisory council to make recommendations on implementation, including a method for establishing baseline volumes, a conservation program, and a water management program. The council released a draft report in July and comments were accepted through mid-August. The draft report lacked detail on critical elements of each requirement. The council is currently considering comments; the final report was due in early September but is now expected in the next few months. On baselines, the Department of Environmental Conservation is preparing a list of facilities using information from its registration program for withdrawals in excess of 100,000 gpd.
Bottom line: New York must establish baseline volumes for its list; develop conservation and efficiency goals and objectives; create a conservation program; and create a water management program.
When Ohio approved the Compact, the General Assembly made some decisions but left most of the details to an advisory board. On baselines, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has developed a list using reported capacity information and plans to finalize it after advisory board review but before the deadline of December 2008. On conservation, the advisory board is developing goals and objectives and will likely provide recommendations on a conservation program. The General Assembly gave the DNR the authority to create a voluntary conservation program through rules, but a mandatory program requires legislative approval. On water management, the advisory board is considering the type of program and the threshold for regulation. The board must issue a report by June 2010, which will include an after-the-fact discussion of the DNR's work on baselines.
Bottom line: Ohio must finalize its baseline list; finalize its conservation and efficiency goals and objectives; create a conservation program; and create a water management program.
When Pennsylvania approved the Compact, it passed legislation that provided a skeletal framework for implementation. On baselines, the General Assembly directed that baseline volumes be based on either permit limitations or the physical capacity of existing systems. Pennsylvania is currently accepting comments on its proposed baseline list. On conservation, the Department of Environmental Protection is authorized to administer a voluntary water conservation program utilizing a water resources technical assistance center that has not been established. On water management, the General Assembly set the thresholds for the regulatory program at 100,000 gpd for withdrawals and 5 mgd for consumptive uses. The criteria and procedures for review and approval of proposals are to be adopted through rule.
Bottom line: Pennsylvania must finalize its baseline list; develop conservation and efficiency goals and objectives; develop a conservation program; and issue rules to flesh out the requirements for the permitting process.
When Wisconsin approved the Compact, it passed comprehensive implementing legislation. On baselines, the Legislature directed that the amount be the maximum hydraulic capacity of the most restrictive component of the water supply system, or the approval limit under other statutes governing water withdrawals. On conservation, Wisconsin has developed conservation and efficiency goals and objectives. The Department of Natural Resources must develop a voluntary statewide water conservation and efficiency program as well as a voluntary and mandatory basin program, to be implemented by rule. On water management, a general permit is required for withdrawals that average 100,000 gpd or more in any 30-day period and an individual permit is required for withdrawals that equal 1 mgd or greater for any 30 consecutive days. Withdrawals equaling at least 10 mgd for any 30 consecutive days must meet the Compact decision-making standard, unless the applicant demonstrates that the withdrawal will have an average water loss of less than 5 mgd in every 90-day period, in which case the withdrawal must meet a state decision-making standard. The remaining withdrawals exceeding 1 mgd for any 30 consecutive days must meet the state standard. Rules must be issued to flesh out the requirements.
Bottom line: Wisconsin must finalize its baseline list; issue rules to create a conservation program and specify measures; and issue rules related to registration, reporting, permitting, water loss, and the public participation process.