Wisconsin Considers Stricter Water-Use Regulation
Some Critics Say Proposed Controls Would Hurt Agriculture in State
by Max Lien, age 13
According to a recent Wisconsin State Journal article by Ron Seely, groundwater experts and waterfront property owners are lobbying for a new bill that would regulate high-capacity wells. These wells pump about 100,000 gallons of water per day. The bill would create new management areas in places where pumping groundwater could negatively impact the quality and availability of water.
Supporters of this bill believe it will help prevent the state from losing lakes and streams to heavy water pumping, but opponents of the bill say otherwise. Dairy farmers and agribusiness representatives, especially, argue that the bill could hurt the state’s $59 billion agricultural industry.
Provisions of the bill would allow local councils to set up their own water- use regulations. Local councils will be able to object to the construction of new wellsand put regulations on existing ones. Many farms, however want a more uniform way of approaching the water issue. Despite the delicate nature of the DNR-agriculture relationship, many farmers prefer that the DNR oversee water regulations.
[Source: Wisconsin State Journal]