Water Resources Conservation Advisory Council, Nov. 2009 Report

Summary | Findings and Recommendations from Previous Councils

TECHNICAL UNDERPINNINGS OF WITHDRAWAL DECISION MAKING WORK GROUP

Water Resources Conservation Advisory Council, Nov. 2009 Report

Evaluation of the Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool

FINDING: After thorough review of all components, the Water Withdrawal Assessment Process (Process) will require continued maintenance and improvement.

RECOMMENDATION: Applicable state department staff should correct technical errors, make minor technical revisions and technical changes to the Screening Tool in accordance with the methodology adopted by the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) with annual reporting to the Council. Revision to process methodologies related to temperature, hydrology, and stream or river flow will be reviewed by the Council and presented to NRC for review and decision. Any proposed modification of legislative process or definitions will be reviewed by the Council for recommendation to department leadership and the legislature for action. 

RECOMMENDATION: The Council should establish a Water Management Science Advisory Committee within the Council to assure adoption of an adaptive science program to underpin the continually developing Michigan water management process including continued "refinement of the Screening Tool." 

RECOMMENDATION CARRIED FORWARD FROM THE APRIL 2009 COUNCIL REPORT: All aspects of the Process should be moved from the 1:100,000 to the 1:24,000 map scale when feasible to best align the scale of the statewide Screening Tool with the on-the-ground scale of policy decisions. Future decisions regarding scale and structure of the base map should be sensitive to efforts of regional partners to construct a consistent Great Lakes basin-wide mapping platform for water management.

FINDING: Inability to update and enhance base water data undermines the long-term effectiveness of the Process.

RECOMMENDATION (RESTATED FROM PRIOR REPORTS): As stated in the 2007 Council report, any implementation must include a plan for ongoing, periodic field testing and review and revision of the process and associated tools and databases. DEQ should continue to gather data and to update and enhance hydrologic and water use data and data management the water accounting database and the Screening Tool to assure accuracy in the Process.

FINDING: Changes made to the Process that account for withdrawals from cold water segments upstream of cold-transitional river segments are scientifically valid and appropriate. When withdrawals are from warm or cool water segments upstream of cold-transitional river segments, the Council finds that potential impacts are buffered by the safety factor and hydrologic and thermal characteristics, and no changes in the screening process are warranted at this time. However, the Council recognizes there is more to learn and has clearly flagged this issue for future study and refinement.

Adverse Impacts on Inland Lakes and Other Aquatic Resources

FINDING: The Council could not adequately address modification of the current definition of ARI to cover the Great Lakes or associated coastal wetlands within the time period provided.

FINDING: Reviewing the potential impacts of large capacity withdrawals on inland lakes and wetlands is a time appropriate focus that offers the greatest opportunity for significant progress toward refining decision-making tools. 

FINDING: It is likely that reducing groundwater inputs to groundwater dependent lakes and wetlands has the potential to cause significant changes to ecosystems. However, at this time it not possible to develop a general model that describes the "significance" of ecological impacts resulting from water withdrawals.

FINDING: Fish populations are not an appropriate indicator for assessing ARIs for lakes or wetlands. Published studies suggest wetland vegetation as a metric for evaluating the effects of water withdrawal on wetland function. For evaluating the effects of water withdrawal on lake function, published studies suggest littoral zone vegetation and water chemistry as metrics. Unfortunately, there is not sufficient information in the published literature to make a definitive policy recommendation as to the exact metrics that should be used to define ARIs in lakes and wetlands. However, these metrics appear to be a good starting point for metric development in Michigan's lakes and wetlands. FINDING: Using existing research and geospatial information, it should be possible with further study to develop a lake classification system for Michigan based on measures of groundwater contribution. Unfortunately, it was not possible to develop such a classification system for lakes in the timeline provided.

FINDING: It is technically feasible to develop quantitative models that generally describe the ecological response of lakes or wetlands to water withdrawals, but only after additional targeted scientific research and sufficient analytical time and attention.

RECOMMENDATION: A quantitative model describing the response curves of lakes and wetlands to water withdrawals should be developed as a result of a carefully designed rigorous field-based scientific study. If validated, the resultant model could be used in the legislative process (analogous to the current stream-based Process) to identify sensitive lakes and wetlands that are not adequately protected by the current stream-based process.

Review of Water Law Conflicts

FINDING: As no clear conflicts in state law related to the use of the waters of the state are apparent, the Council does not recommend any action by the Legislature to address conflicts in state water law.

Preventative Measures and Adverse Resource Impacts

FINDING: Consideration of a preventative measure is embedded in the permit process. It is unlawful to develop a new large-quantity water withdrawal if it will create an adverse resource impact. As such, proceeding with a withdrawal predicted to cause one, but contingent upon a successful preventative measure implementation is embedded in the water withdrawal permit application process. DEQ will ensure that a legally enforceable implementation schedule for the preventative measure is part of the permit conditions. If an approval of a water withdrawal permit that includes consideration of preventative measures is dependent on an arrangement between the applicant and a third party, DEQ will also ensure that the permit is contingent on the appropriate legal contracts between applicant and third parties.

FINDING: DEQ will need the following additional, specific information to evaluate a proposed preventative measure

a. Theoretical basis of how the proposed activity will prevent an ARI.

b. Results of prior use of a like preventative measure, if available.

c. Comparison of baseline conditions with the measured or anticipated effect of the proposed preventative measure.

d. Expected, measurable results of a successful preventative measure.

e. A description of conditions under which the proposed withdrawal may begin.

f. A data monitoring plan to document project success.

g. A contingency plan describing actions to be taken if monitoring results are not consistent with the project overall effect of the preventative measure and withdrawal.

FINDING: Targeted planning and data collection IS NECESSARY to support a permit application containing a proposed preventative measure. Designing and supporting a decision on a proposed preventative measure will take time and be expensive. Data collection, careful project design and early engagement in the permitting process by both DEQ and the applicant is important to support a regulatory decision.

RECOMMENDATION: The DEQ should develop a process to assist a person in preparing a proposed preventative measure permit application. The DEQ should provide the following information and assistance:

a. Information on an applicant's options site specific review concluding that a proposed withdrawal would cause an adverse resource impact and information on the applicant's options.

b. Opportunities to meet with the applicant to discuss the potential for developing a successful preventative measure permit application.

c. Review and comment on a specific plan to collect and develop the necessary information for a proposed preventative measure permit application.

RECOMMENDATION : The Department should develop a process to protect a person considering a proposed preventative measure permit application from later potential water users. It will take time and funds to develop a proposed preventative measure permit application. The person considering doing so should be able to "reserve" any available flow-and flow that might be made available through a potential preventative measure-much like a person can reserve flow for 18 months simply by filing a registration.

RECOMMENDATION: The council should continue to evaluate and consider issues associated with the concept of preventative measures with a commitment to further addressing this issue within the final report of the Council as required not later than July 9, 2011. Topics needing further attention include, but are not limited to:

a. Reservation of water volumes in the accounting for "preventative measures" proposals not associated with a current application to withdraw.

b. Appropriate tracking and accounting in water use database for the successful execution of a preventative measure.

c. Development of more specific preventative measures application templates to improve efficiency of review process.

d. Review of sufficient application fees to evaluate complex preventative measures applications.

e. Use of the Water Management Science Advisory Committee for the evaluation of complex preventative measures applications.

f. Addressing the retirement of existing water uses in the preventative measures context.

Groundwater Conservation Advisory Council, Feb. 2006 Report

FINDING 4-Groundwater levels in Michigan move up and down in response to natural factors and human activities. The amount of water-level change varies from aquifer to aquifer and from one area of the state to another. No statewide groundwater-level monitoring network exists to track changes and to ascertain whether changes are caused by natural factors or by human activities. Furthermore, 2003 PA 177, Sec. 31703(1)(d) states "That the lowering of the groundwater level exceeds normal seasonal water level fluctuations...." Without monitoring of water levels in areas unaffected by pumping, normal seasonal fluctuations cannot be accurately determined.  

RECOMMENDATION 4-Michigan should develop and implement a plan for a statewide groundwater-level monitoring network. The plan should incorporate and leverage on-going monitoring, take into account the former statewide network, and specify which monitoring is a state need and which is a local need. The state should fund state needs and provide matching or start-up funds for local needs. The current cooperative statewide streamflow monitoring network is an excellent model of leveraging state and local funding to produce a robust statewide network, at minimal cost to all parties.

FINDING 5-The effects of groundwater withdrawals from glacial aquifers on nearby wells and aquatic ecosystems often are difficult to understand or to reliably predict without an understanding of the texture, thickness, and extent of glacial deposits in three dimensions. This understanding is needed for a number of other important reasons, including groundwater supply, contaminant movement, and mineral-resource supply.

RECOMMENDATION 5-Michigan should prioritize and fund basic 3-dimensional geologic mapping of glacial deposits. Prioritization should consider areas of the state where current or future groundwater withdrawals have the potential to affect small-capacity wells or aquatic ecosystems.

FINDING 6-Michigan's Water Use Reporting Program is now one of the best in the Great Lakes Region. The program provides required information to meet state laws and Great Lakes Charter agreements. The program can provide useful indicators of sustainability, if strengthened and supported.

RECOMMENDATION 6-Michigan should provide for ongoing funding and staffing of the Water Use Reporting Program. Full reporting should be encouraged from all use sectors that are included in the Program.

FINDING 8-Michigan does not have a coordinated statewide process to manage groundwater use; such a process could minimize water-use conflicts and adverse environmental impacts.

RECOMMENDATION 8-Michigan should build upon existing programs to develop a coordinated statewide process to manage groundwater use to prevent adverse impacts to natural resources and to assess the potential for impacts on other water uses.

Groundwater and Inventory Mapping (http://www.rsgis.msu.edu/)

Concurrent with the work of the Council, MDEQ was conducting a groundwater inventory and mapping project (GWIM), as directed by 2003 PA 148, Sec. 32802. This project was completed by a multi-agency team comprised of MDEQ, USGS, and MSU. Upon conclusion of the project in August 2005, the Council asked the team for findings and recommendations that might follow from their project. Upon consideration of the team's response to this request, the Council has the following findings and recommendations relevant to 2003 PA 148. These are not directly requested under Sec. 32803, but in the Council's judgment are related to the issues raised in that section.

FINDING 1-GWIM is an excellent tool, useful to the private sector, the public, researchers and government agencies. If not maintained and enhanced, its value will gradually diminish and a significant investment of State resources will be lost.

RECOMMENDATION 1A-Michigan should provide for the maintenance and enhancement of the maps and data compiled in GWIM. Needed maintenance and enhancements are summarized below, based upon the GWIM project team's final report.

Database maintenance and enhancement

  • Continue to add relevant scientific reports to GWIM.
  • Continue to maintain Wellogic (MDEQ's computerized well log database), adding new well records in a timely fashion.  
  • Enter data from the scanned historic well records (about 800,000 are available) into Wellogic, prioritizing areas where electronic well records are scarce.
  • Continue to provide outreach and technology transfer on the use and importance of Wellogic.
  • Pursue consistency in water-use reporting requirements. Current inconsistencies include reporting either capacity or use, reporting use by facility or well and reporting use aggregated by township.
  • Develop a process to streamline the mapping of water use and provide tools to MDEQ and MDA to simplify the mapping procedure as new data are submitted each year.

Mapping maintenance and enhancement

  • Explore ways to obtain hydraulic characteristics of aquifers, especially in data-poor areas, with a priority on areas of potential future water-resource development.
  • Develop large-scale, local, 3D maps identifying the major confined and unconfined aquifer zones in the glacial deposits. Such a task was considerably beyond the scope of work of the GWIM project team.
  • Support and expand the detailed glacial geology mapping of the Michigan Office of the Geological Survey with a focus on relating this effort to groundwater-resource management.

Additional data and information needs

  • Study and report on the temporal trends in the existing groundwater-level data. This analysis would provide insight to areas of Michigan that are more or less sensitive to drought, and provide a water-use and climatological context to the reported water levels.
  • Expand streamflow monitoring network to improve estimates of baseflow and recharge.
  • Collect low-flow streamflow measurements for currently ungagged watersheds to confirm the baseflow estimates and provide additional data to improve these estimates.
  • Research and develop practical methods to link aquifer analyses, water-use information, and baseflow and recharge estimates to evaluate the ecological impact of future groundwater resource development.

RECOMMENDATION 1B-Michigan should invest the necessary resources to main and enhance GWIM.  

ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING WORK GROUP

Water Resources Conservation Advisory Council, Nov. 2009 Report

Evaluation of the Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool

FINDING: After thorough review of all components, the Water Withdrawal Assessment Process (Process) will require continued maintenance and improvement.

FINDING: Inability to update and enhance base water data undermines the long-term effectiveness of the Process.

RECOMMENDATION (RESTATED FROM PRIOR REPORTS): As stated in the 2007 Council report, any implementation must include a plan for ongoing, periodic field testing and review and revision of the process and associated tools and databases. DEQ should continue to gather data and to update and enhance hydrologic and water use data and data management the water accounting database and the Screening Tool to assure accuracy in the Process.

Adverse Impacts on Inland Lakes and Other Aquatic Resources

FINDING: The Council could not adequately address modification of the current definition of ARI to cover the Great Lakes or associated coastal wetlands within the time period provided.

FINDING: Reviewing the potential impacts of large capacity withdrawals on inland lakes and wetlands is a time appropriate focus that offers the greatest opportunity for significant progress toward refining decision-making tools.

FINDING: It is likely that reducing groundwater inputs to groundwater dependent lakes and wetlands has the potential to cause significant changes to ecosystems. However, at this time it not possible to develop a general model that describes the "significance" of ecological impacts resulting from water withdrawals.

FINDING: Fish populations are not an appropriate indicator for assessing ARIs for lakes or wetlands. Published studies suggest wetland vegetation as a metric for evaluating the effects of water withdrawal on wetland function. For evaluating the effects of water withdrawal on lake function, published studies suggest littoral zone vegetation and water chemistry as metrics. Unfortunately, there is not sufficient information in the published literature to make a definitive policy recommendation as to the exact metrics that should be used to define ARIs in lakes and wetlands. However, these metrics appear to be a good starting point for metric development in Michigan's lakes and wetlands. FINDING: Using existing research and geospatial information, it should be possible with further study to develop a lake classification system for Michigan based on measures of groundwater contribution. Unfortunately, it was not possible to develop such a classification system for lakes in the timeline provided.

FINDING: It is technically feasible to develop quantitative models that generally describe the ecological response of lakes or wetlands to water withdrawals, but only after additional targeted scientific research and sufficient analytical time and attention.

RECOMMENDATION: A quantitative model describing the response curves of lakes and wetlands to water withdrawals should be developed as a result of a carefully designed rigorous field-based scientific study. If validated, the resultant model could be used in the legislative process (analogous to the current stream-based Process) to identify sensitive lakes and wetlands that are not adequately protected by the current stream-based process. Review of Water Law Conflicts

FINDING: As no clear conflicts in state law related to the use of the waters of the state are apparent, the Council does not recommend any action by the Legislature to address conflicts in state water law.

Groundwater Conservation Advisory Council, Feb. 2006 Report

FINDING 4-Groundwater levels in Michigan move up and down in response to natural factors and human activities. The amount of water-level change varies from aquifer to aquifer and from one area of the state to another. No statewide groundwater-level monitoring network exists to track changes and to ascertain whether changes are caused by natural factors or by human activities. Furthermore, 2003 PA 177, Sec. 31703(1)(d) states "That the lowering of the groundwater level exceeds normal seasonal water level fluctuations...." Without monitoring of water levels in areas unaffected by pumping, normal seasonal fluctuations cannot be accurately determined.

RECOMMENDATION 4-Michigan should develop and implement a plan for a statewide groundwater-level monitoring network. The plan should incorporate and leverage on-going monitoring, take into account the former statewide network, and specify which monitoring is a state need and which is a local need. The state should fund state needs and provide matching or start-up funds for local needs. The current cooperative statewide streamflow monitoring network is an excellent model of leveraging state and local funding to produce a robust statewide network, at minimal cost to all parties.

FINDING 5-The effects of groundwater withdrawals from glacial aquifers on nearby wells and aquatic ecosystems often are difficult to understand or to reliably predict without an understanding of the texture, thickness, and extent of glacial deposits in three dimensions. This understanding is needed for a number of other important reasons, including groundwater supply, contaminant movement, and mineral-resource supply.

RECOMMENDATION 5-Michigan should prioritize and fund basic 3-dimensional geologic mapping of glacial deposits. Prioritization should consider areas of the state where current or future groundwater withdrawals have the potential to affect small-capacity wells or aquatic ecosystems.

FINDING 12-Although considerable research has been conducted relating groundwater and fisheries, similar research relating groundwater to other species in aquatic ecosystems, such as freshwater mussels, invertebrates and plants, has not been conducted.

RECOMMENDATION 12A-Michigan should prioritize and fund basic and applied research that examines the dependence of Michigan's aquatic ecosystems on groundwater flow to surface water. Prioritization should consider at-risk species and areas of current or future large groundwater withdrawals.

RECOMMENDATION 12B-Michigan should implement a long-term, statistically-designed, statewide status-and-trends field inventory program for aquatic ecosystems. This inventory should include a range of aquatic animals and plants, and must be strongly linked to groundwater, hydrologic setting and geomorphic setting. MDNR Fisheries Division has such a program started for fish in streams and lakes, and the new MDNR Comprehensive Wildlife Management Strategy calls for such a comprehensive inventory. This inventory data set, sampling across space and through time, will provide the basis for improved modeling of patterns and relationships of attributes of Michigan's streams, wetlands, and lakes.

RECOMMENDATION 12C-Michigan should conduct large-scale experiments where groundwater is withdrawn from different aquifer types and from aquifers connected to different aquatic ecosystems. These experiments will help to establish cause and effect relationships between groundwater withdrawals and potential individual and cumulative impacts on aquatic ecosystems.

Groundwater and Inventory Mapping (http://www.rsgis.msu.edu/)

Concurrent with the work of the Council, MDEQ was conducting a groundwater inventory and mapping project (GWIM), as directed by 2003 PA 148, Sec. 32802. This project was completed by a multi-agency team comprised of MDEQ, USGS, and MSU. Upon conclusion of the project in August 2005, the Council asked the team for findings and recommendations that might follow from their project. Upon consideration of the team's response to this request, the Council has the following findings and recommendations relevant to 2003 PA 148. These are not directly requested under Sec. 32803, but in the Council's judgment are related to the issues raised in that section.

FINDING 1-GWIM is an excellent tool, useful to the private sector, the public, researchers and government agencies. If not maintained and enhanced, its value will gradually diminish and a significant investment of State resources will be lost.

RECOMMENDATION 1A-Michigan should provide for the maintenance and enhancement of the maps and data compiled in GWIM. Needed maintenance and enhancements are summarized below, based upon the GWIM project team's final report.

Database maintenance and enhancement

  • Continue to add relevant scientific reports to GWIM.
  • Continue to maintain Wellogic (MDEQ's computerized well log database), adding new well records in a timely fashion.
  • Enter data from the scanned historic well records (about 800,000 are available) into Wellogic, prioritizing areas where electronic well records are scarce.
  • Continue to provide outreach and technology transfer on the use and importance of Wellogic.
  • Pursue consistency in water-use reporting requirements. Current inconsistencies include reporting either capacity or use, reporting use by facility or well and reporting use aggregated by township.
  • Develop a process to streamline the mapping of water use and provide tools to MDEQ and MDA to simplify the mapping procedure as new data are submitted each year.

Mapping maintenance and enhancement

  • Explore ways to obtain hydraulic characteristics of aquifers, especially in data-poor areas, with a priority on areas of potential future water-resource development.
  • Develop large-scale, local, 3D maps identifying the major confined and unconfined aquifer zones in the glacial deposits. Such a task was considerably beyond the scope of work of the GWIM project team.
  • Support and expand the detailed glacial geology mapping of the Michigan Office of the Geological Survey with a focus on relating this effort to groundwater-resource management.

Additional data and information needs

  • Study and report on the temporal trends in the existing groundwater-level data. This analysis would provide insight to areas of Michigan that are more or less sensitive to drought, and provide a water-use and climatological context to the reported water levels.
  • Expand streamflow monitoring network to improve estimates of baseflow and recharge.
  • Collect low-flow streamflow measurements for currently ungagged watersheds to confirm the baseflow estimates and provide additional data to improve these estimates.
  • Research and develop practical methods to link aquifer analyses, water-use information, and baseflow and recharge estimates to evaluate the ecological impact of future groundwater resource development.

RECOMMENDATION 1B-Michigan should invest the necessary resources to main and enhance GWIM.

WATER USER GROUPS WORK GROUP

Water Resources Conservation Advisory Council, Nov. 2009 Report

Evaluation of the Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool

FINDING: After thorough review of all components, the Water Withdrawal Assessment Process (Process) will require continued maintenance and improvement.

Review of Water Law Conflicts

FINDING: As no clear conflicts in state law related to the use of the waters of the state are apparent, the Council does not recommend any action by the Legislature to address conflicts in state water law.

Preventative Measures and Adverse Resource Impacts

FINDING: Consideration of a preventative measure is embedded in the permit process. It is unlawful to develop a new large-quantity water withdrawal if it will create an adverse resource impact. As such, proceeding with a withdrawal predicted to cause one, but contingent upon a successful preventative measure implementation is embedded in the water withdrawal permit application process. DEQ will ensure that a legally enforceable implementation schedule for the preventative measure is part of the permit conditions. If an approval of a water withdrawal permit that includes consideration of preventative measures is dependent on an arrangement between the applicant and a third party, DEQ will also ensure that the permit is contingent on the appropriate legal contracts between applicant and third parties.

FINDING: DEQ will need the following additional, specific information to evaluate a proposed preventative measure

a. Theoretical basis of how the proposed activity will prevent an ARI.

b. Results of prior use of a like preventative measure, if available.

c. Comparison of baseline conditions with the measured or anticipated effect of the proposed preventative measure.

d. Expected, measurable results of a successful preventative measure.

e. A description of conditions under which the proposed withdrawal may begin.

f. A data monitoring plan to document project success.

g. A contingency plan describing actions to be taken if monitoring results are not consistent with the project overall effect of the preventative measure and withdrawal.

FINDING: Targeted planning and data collection IS NECESSARY to support a permit application containing a proposed preventative measure. Designing and supporting a decision on a proposed preventative measure will take time and be expensive. Data collection, careful project design and early engagement in the permitting process by both DEQ and the applicant is important to support a regulatory decision.

RECOMMENDATION: The DEQ should develop a process to assist a person in preparing a proposed preventative measure permit application. The DEQ should provide the following information and assistance:

a. Information on an applicant's options site specific review concluding that a proposed withdrawal would cause an adverse resource impact and information on the applicant's options.

b. Opportunities to meet with the applicant to discuss the potential for developing a successful preventative measure permit application.

c. Review and comment on a specific plan to collect and develop the necessary information for a proposed preventative measure permit application.

RECOMMENDATION: The Department should develop a process to protect a person considering a proposed preventative measure permit application from later potential water users. It will take time and funds to develop a proposed preventative measure permit application. The person considering doing so should be able to "reserve" any available flow-and flow that might be made available through a potential preventative measure-much like a person can reserve flow for 18 months simply by filing a registration.

RECOMMENDATION: The council should continue to evaluate and consider issues associated with the concept of preventative measures with a commitment to further addressing this issue within the final report of the Council as required not later than July 9, 2011. Topics needing further attention include, but are not limited to:

a. Reservation of water volumes in the accounting for "preventative measures" proposals not associated with a current application to withdraw.

b. Appropriate tracking and accounting in water use database for the successful execution of a preventative measure.

c. Development of more specific preventative measures application templates to improve efficiency of review process.

d. Review of sufficient application fees to evaluate complex preventative measures applications.

e. Use of the Water Management Science Advisory Committee for the evaluation of complex preventative measures applications.

f. Addressing the retirement of existing water uses in the preventative measures context.

Education Needs of Michigan's Water Withdrawal Program 

FINDING: The Council chose to focus on the information needs of Water User Committees and the Water Resource Assessment and Education Committees in order to facilitate their formation and optimize their effectiveness at their respective roles in the process.

FINDING: While there is an abundant supply of existing education information and technical resources regarding the Process and water management in general, gaps exist.

RECOMMENDATION: Water User Committees and Water Resources Assessment and Education Committees should proactively meet, communicate, and plan for managing local water resources, and therefore avoid the occurrence of an ARI.

RECOMMENDATION: The Council should construct a "Process and Timeline Guidebook" for committees called for in Michigan water law. This could be written by academics, but it should be provided by the state and made available when these committees are formed.

RECOMMENDATION: The Council should construct an annotated list of materials provided in this report to be made available on the DEQ and DNR websites in addition to being included in the "Process and Timeline Guidebook" which would also be available online. This list will be updated as new materials become available.

RECOMMENDATION: Water committees should look to DEQ and university resources to help meet educational needs. The Council acknowledges that committee members themselves may have their own technical data, such as hydrological and ecological monitoring data, that can be considered.

WATER CONSERVATION AND USE EFFICIENCY WORK GROUP

Water Resources Conservation Advisory Council, Nov. 2009 Report

Evaluation of the Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool

FINDING: After thorough review of all components, the Water Withdrawal Assessment Process (Process) will require continued maintenance and improvement.

Review of Water Law Conflicts

FINDING: As no clear conflicts in state law related to the use of the waters of the state are apparent, the Council does not recommend any action by the Legislature to address conflicts in state water law.

Michigan Water Conservation Measures

FINDING: Creation of a Michigan Water Conservation and Efficiency Initiative consistent with regional goals and objectives adopted by the Regional Body is necessary for Michigan compliance to the Compact.

RECOMMENDATION: The Council should release Attachment B of this report titled "Michigan Water Conservation and Efficiency Initiative" for public review and comment. After public review, evaluation and appropriate modification, the Council should recommend adoption of the report as fulfillment of Michigan's respective responsibilities under the Compact regarding water conservation. RECOMMENDATION: Michigan should suggest to the Compact Council the development of a conference for states to share information regarding state specific water conservation programs where stakeholders can be involved. RECOMMENDATION: The Council should continue work on water conservation for the purpose of developing a greater inventory of current conservation measures employed by business and opportunities for developing market based incentives for water conservation.

Groundwater Conservation Advisory Council, Feb. 2006 Report

FINDING 1-Sustainability means different things to different people and adoption of a definition promotes informed debate.

RECOMMENDATION 1-Michigan should adopt a modified version of the Brundtland Commission's definition of sustainable development: Sustainable use of Michigan's groundwater resources means (1) meeting the needs of the present while not compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs and (2) recognizing that sustainable use encompasses environmental, economic, and social systems and their contribution to meeting human needs.

FINDING 2-Criteria and indicators are useful tools in evaluating sustainability.

RECOMMENDATION 2-Michigan should develop a set of criteria and indicators to evaluate the sustainability of Michigan's groundwater use and conduct this evaluation on an ongoing basis. Development of criteria and indicators should be a broad and open process, including subject-matter experts in environmental, economic, and social systems. FINDING 3-The status of Michigan's groundwater resources relevant to selected indicators has not been determined, nor are there ongoing efforts to track changes.

RECOMMENDATION 3-Michigan should develop and implement a program to determine the current status of selected indicators and to measure and track future changes.

FINDING 10-Michigan's Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices (GAAMP) for irrigation and the Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program provide good models of water-use sectors developing sector-specific water-management practices. Farms and golf courses have the opportunity to voluntarily self-certify that they have implemented the water-management practices specific to their sector.

RECOMMENDATION 10-Each water-use sector should develop its own sector-specific water-management practice. These should be reviewed and evaluated by a closely related professional or trade association. Water users within each sector should be encouraged to adopt and implement the water-management practices specific to their sector.