Water Conservation Work Group

May 31, 2013

Update: October 16, 2013


The Great Lakes Compact and Agreement require each party to develop water conservation goals and objectives, and to implement water conservation and efficiency programs. Annual assessment and adjustment of the programs is also required in consideration of new demands or patterns of water use, cumulative impact and effects, new technologies, and climate.

Part 327, Great Lakes Preservation, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act requires the DEQ to review and accept appropriate water conservation measures for representative water use sectors, and to prepare generic water conservation measures by March 2009. This has been completed. Conservation measures for agricultural purposes are must be updated annually. This annual process is done as part of the review and update of generally accepted agricultural and management practices under the Michigan Right to Farm Act.


• Promote an understanding of water use trends and projected water use demands in Michigan in order to inform recommendations and future direction of the Water Use program, specifically but not limited to water conservation, use efficiency, outreach and education, and water users groups.

• Identify water conservation and use efficiency practices to preserve the quantity and quality of Michigan’s  and Great Lakes water resources.

Specific Tasks

• Develop a plan for addressing each task and meeting work group goals in consideration of other work groups’ work, sequencing of task and delivery of all final recommendations and products from the Council to the Quality of Life agencies by December 15, 2014. The plan should also identify information needed from and potential areas of overlap with other work groups, and information and support needed from the QOL agencies.

• Evaluate water use trends and predicted future demands in Michigan, including consumptive and non-consumptive uses, regional differences, use by sector, etc. and make recommendations for future water conservation and efficiency activities based on projected use demands. Recommendations may include outreach and education activities, research and development of conservation practices in emerging areas of large quantity water use, etc.

• Review water conservation practices in other states and countries, particularly in the Great Lakes region; propose updates to the water conservation practices (generic, sector specific industry standards – water supply, agriculture, turf grass irrigation, other nonagricultural irrigation, aggregate industry, chemical industry, etc.

• Identify and evaluate existing metrics for water conservation and use efficiency and recommend metrics for Michigan’s program. In particular, review the "The Water Efficiency and Conservation State Scorecard: An Assessment of Laws and Policies," by the alliance for Water Efficiency and the Environmental Law Institute and provide recommendations to the QOL agencies regarding whether the metrics are relevant to Michigan’s program and alternatives for raising Michigan’s grade if so. The report is here:

http://www.allianceforwaterefficiency.org/uploadedFiles/News/NewsArticles/NewsArticleResource s/AWE-State-Scorecard-Report-Final-September-2012.pdf

• Recommend public outreach and education approaches related to water conservation and efficient use.

• Evaluate public comments on Michigan’s Water Conservation and Efficiency Program under the Great Lakes Compact and make recommendations to the Council on how to address them, including changes to the Program.

• Consider and provide related recommendations regarding incorporation of a periodic assessment and adjustment process to update Michigan’s accepted water conservation measures.

• Identify information sources used for these tasks that might be useful on a regional scale to assist water users groups.

• Provide recommendations and information not specifically covered in these bullets but, in the view of the work group, are critical to meet the specified goals of the work group.

Timeline and Deliverables

• Present work group plan, including timing of presentations to the Council and proposed dates for delivery of written report(s) and recommendations to the DEQ – first Council meeting following establishment of work group.

• Oral report on activities, progress and barriers to fulfilling the charge - each Council meeting

• Draft recommendations and guidance for the Council’s consideration - TBD

• Present background and draft recommendations at full Council meetings - TBD

• Prepare reports for consideration by the full Council, including a brief summary of pertinent background information, recommendations around which there is work group consensus, recommendations around which there was discussion but no consensus, and other areas that should be explored or require additional work – TBD

• Revise and finalize reports based on feedback from the Council, such that the findings and recommendations reflect the views of the Council rather than the Work Group - TBD/Complete by December 15, 2014.


Frank Ruswick (Jon Bartholic) – Co chair
Robert Whitesides (Steve Hamilton) – Co chair
Margaret Bettenhausen (Peter Manning)
Gary Dawson
Frank Ettawageshik
Penny Holt
Tom Frazier (Judy Allen)
Jim Johnson
Steve Rice
Pat Staskiewicz (Brian Steglitz)
Paul Zugger (Erin McDonough)