Implementation of the Great Lakes Compact in Michigan:
How well will Water User Committees work?
In 2008 the state of Michigan passed implementing legislation as it adopted the Great Lakes-St Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. This changed the law governing water withdrawal and consumptive uses within the state to enable the Compact, in turn, to protect the waters of the Great Lakes from future diversion.
The 2008 legislation was designed to implement the Compact by putting into place a water withdrawal/consumptive use framework that treated water users within the state of Michigan in an evenhanded manner when compared to the way the Compact restricted withdrawal and consumptive uses for users external to the Great Lakes Basin. This legislation effectively changed Michigan's water use law. It established a science-based, accounting approach to permitting and monitoring current and future withdrawals and consumptive uses within the state. While there is a transparent and science-based framework for managing water use in Michigan, competition for limited ground/surface water supplies continues to be a challenge. In this case, we'll pilot test a proposed structure, the Water Users Committee, and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.