Michigan Introduces Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool

Recently enacted Michigan legislation called for a new Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool to assess any impact on the state's water resources by a specific large quantity water withdrawal. On Oct. 1, the tool was posted online and became available to the public on a trial basis for testing and comment.

A potential water withdrawal applicant will access the tool online and input site-specific parameters, such as location, pumping rate, depth to water, and other pertinent information. The tool will provide a prompt answer to the query and instruct the applicant on the next steps to be taken before beginning a large quantity water withdrawal. The assessment is based on the potential for harm caused by the withdrawal to fish populations in nearby streams and rivers.

Development of the tool resulted from a collaborative effort between the U.S. Geological Survey, Michigan State University, and the Michigan departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources.

Usage of the tool will be optional until July 9, 2009, when it will become fully implemented and its use required of individuals proposing a large quantity water withdrawal from the waters of the state.

To access the tool, visit www.miwwat.org. Questions or comments may be made directly from the Web site during trial use, or by contacting Brant Fisher at (517) 241-1415 or Joe Lovato at (517) 241-1383.

The new law provides the Great Lakes with wide-ranging new protections and makes Michigan a leader in the scientific management of its water resources, according to a Department of Environmental Quality press release.

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