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Sen. Mark Miller, Rep. Spencer Black

State lawmakers have a new plan to protect Wisconsin’s water. The bill builds on a 2003 law, but state Representative Spencer Black said the Groundwater Protection Bill creates a new mechanism to protect areas impacted by excessive water withdrawals – for example, when farms or businesses apply to the state to drill a new well.

“It will allow concerned citizens to make a case that the well would have a significant adverse environmental impact on water resources,” Black said during a press conference held next to a spring in the UW Arboretum in Madison.

State Senator Mark Miller said the bill puts in place a water budget in affected areas, and a planning process to assure that water consumption equals water supply. “If there’s not a way to assure that new applications are balanced against the available supply, then that farmer or business person may find their supply in jeopardy.”

The bill creates groundwater management areas and groundwater attention areas, and calls for the counties to create groundwater management councils and develop plans for protecting their water resources. Black said he’s optimistic that they bill can be passed in this session of the legislature.

AUDIO: Miller, Black Q&A (9 min MP3)

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