“Water" means groundwater or surface water contained within the basin.
“Water dependent natural resources" means the interacting components of land, water, and living organisms affected by the waters of the basin.
“Waters of the basin" or “basin water" means the Great Lakes and all streams, rivers, lakes, connecting channels, and other bodies of water, including tributary groundwater, within the basin.
“Withdrawal" means the taking of water from surface water or groundwater. “Withdraw" has a corresponding meaning.
(1m) Findings and purposes.
The legislative bodies of the respective parties hereby find and declare:
The waters of the basin are precious public natural resources shared and held in trust by the states;
The waters of the basin are interconnected and part of a single hydrologic system;
The waters of the basin can concurrently serve multiple uses. Such multiple uses include municipal, public, industrial, commercial, agriculture, mining, navigation, energy development and production, recreation, the subsistence, economic, and cultural activities of native peoples, water quality maintenance, and the maintenance of fish and wildlife habitat and a balanced ecosystem. And, other purposes are encouraged, recognizing that such uses are interdependent and must be balanced;
Future diversions and consumptive uses of basin water resources have the potential to significantly impact the environment, economy, and welfare of the Great Lakes — St. Lawrence River region;
Continued sustainable, accessible, and adequate water supplies for the people and economy of the basin are of vital importance; and
The parties have a shared duty to protect, conserve, restore, improve, and manage the renewable but finite waters of the basin for the use, benefit, and enjoyment of all their citizens, including generations yet to come. The most effective means of protecting, conserving, restoring, improving, and managing the basin waters is through the joint pursuit of unified and cooperative principles, policies, and programs mutually agreed upon, enacted, and adhered to by all parties.
To act together to protect, conserve, restore, improve, and effectively manage the waters and water dependent natural resources of the basin under appropriate arrangements for intergovernmental cooperation and consultation because current lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to protect the basin ecosystem;
To provide for cooperative planning and action by the parties with respect to such water resources;
To facilitate consistent approaches to water management across the basin while retaining state management authority over water management decisions within the basin;
To facilitate the exchange of data, strengthen the scientific information base upon which decisions are made, and engage in consultation on the potential effects of proposed withdrawals and losses on the waters and water dependent natural resources of the basin;
To prevent significant adverse impacts of withdrawals and losses on the basin's ecosystems and watersheds;
To promote an adaptive management approach to the conservation and management of basin water resources that recognizes, considers, and provides adjustments for the uncertainties in, and evolution of, scientific knowledge concerning the basin's waters and water dependent natural resources.
The parties commit to provide leadership for the development of a collaborative strategy with other regional partners to strengthen the scientific basis for sound water management decision making under this compact.
The strategy shall guide the collection and application of scientific information to support:
An improved understanding of the individual and cumulative impacts of withdrawals from various locations and water sources on the basin ecosystem and to develop a mechanism by which impacts of withdrawals may be assessed;
The periodic assessment of cumulative impacts of withdrawals, diversions, and consumptive uses on a Great Lake and St. Lawrence River watershed basis;
Improved scientific understanding of the waters of the basin;
Improved understanding of the role of groundwater in basin water resources management; and
The development, transfer, and application of science and research related to water conservation and water use efficiency.
The Great Lakes — St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council is hereby created as a body politic and corporate, with succession for the duration of this compact, as an agency and instrumentality of the governments of the respective parties.
The council shall consist of the governors of the parties, ex officio.
Each member of the council shall appoint at least one alternate who may act in his or her place and stead, with authority to attend all meetings of the council and with power to vote in the absence of the member. Unless otherwise provided by law of the party for which he or she is appointed, each alternate shall serve during the term of the member appointing him or her, subject to removal at the pleasure of the member. In the event of a vacancy in the office of alternate, it shall be filled in the same manner as an original appointment for the unexpired term only.
Each member is entitled to one vote on all matters that may come before the council.
Unless otherwise stated, the rule of decision shall be by a simple majority.
The council shall annually adopt a budget for each fiscal year and the amount required to balance the budget shall be apportioned equitably among the parties by unanimous vote of the council. The appropriation of such amounts shall be subject to such review and approval as may be required by the budgetary processes of the respective parties.
The participation of council members from a majority of the parties shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting of the council.
Organization and procedure.
The council shall provide for its own organization and procedure, and may adopt rules and regulations governing its meetings and transactions, as well as the procedures and timeline for submission, review, and consideration of proposals that come before the council for its review and action. The council shall organize, annually, by the election of a chairperson and vice chairperson from among its members. Each member may appoint an advisor, who may attend all meetings of the council and its committees, but shall not have voting power. The council may employ or appoint professional and administrative personnel, including an executive director, as it may deem advisable, to carry out the purposes of this compact.
Use of existing offices and agencies.
It is the policy of the parties to preserve and utilize the functions, powers, and duties of existing offices and agencies of government to the extent consistent with this compact. Further, the council shall promote and aid the coordination of the activities and programs of the parties concerned with water resources management in the basin. To this end, but without limitation, the council may:
Advise, consult, contract, assist, or otherwise cooperate with any and all such agencies;
Employ any other agency or instrumentality of any of the parties for any purpose; and
Develop and adopt plans consistent with the water resources plans of the parties.
The council shall have, exercise, and discharge its functions, powers, and duties within the limits of the basin. Outside the basin, it may act in its discretion, but only to the extent such action may be necessary or convenient to effectuate or implement its powers or responsibilities within the basin and subject to the consent of the jurisdiction wherein it proposes to act.
The council, its members and personnel in their official capacity and when engaged directly in the affairs of the council, its property, and its assets, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall enjoy the same immunity from suit and every form of judicial process as is enjoyed by the parties, except to the extent that the council may expressly waive its immunity for the purposes of any proceedings or by the terms of any contract.
The property and assets of the council, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be considered public property and shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation, or any other form of taking or foreclosure by executive or legislative action.
The council, its property and its assets, income, and the operations it carries out pursuant to this compact shall be immune from all taxation by or under the authority of any of the parties or any political subdivision thereof; provided, however, that in lieu of property taxes the council may make reasonable payments to local taxing districts in annual amounts that shall approximate the taxes lawfully assessed upon similar property.
The council may constitute and empower advisory committees, which may be comprised of representatives of the public and of federal, state, tribal, county, and local governments, water resources agencies, water-using industries and sectors, water-interest groups, and academic experts in related fields.
The waters and water dependent natural resources of the basin are subject to the sovereign right and responsibilities of the parties, and it is the purpose of this compact to provide for joint exercise of such powers of sovereignty by the council in the common interests of the people of the region, in the manner and to the extent provided in this compact. The council and the parties shall use the standard of review and decision and procedures contained in or adopted pursuant to this compact as the means to exercise their authority under this compact.
The council may revise the standard of review and decision, after consultation with the provinces and upon unanimous vote of all council members, by regulation duly adopted in accordance with par. (c)
and in accordance with each party's respective statutory authorities and applicable procedures.
The council shall identify priorities and develop plans and policies relating to basin water resources. It shall adopt and promote uniform and coordinated policies for water resources conservation and management in the basin.
The council may plan; conduct research and collect, compile, analyze, interpret, report, and disseminate data on water resources and uses; forecast water levels; conduct investigations; institute court actions; design, acquire, construct, reconstruct, own, operate, maintain, control, sell, and convey real and personal property and any interest therein as it may deem necessary, useful, or convenient to carry out the purposes of this compact; make contracts; receive and accept such payments, appropriations, grants, gifts, loans, advances, and other funds, properties, and services as may be transferred or made available to it by any party or by any other public or private agency, corporation, or individual; and exercise such other and different powers as may be delegated to it by this compact or otherwise pursuant to law, and have and exercise all powers necessary or convenient to carry out its express powers or that may be reasonably implied therefrom.
The council may promulgate and enforce such rules and regulations as may be necessary for the implementation and enforcement of this compact. The council may adopt by regulation, after public notice and public hearing, reasonable application fees with respect to those proposals for exceptions that are subject to council review under sub. (4n)
. Any rule or regulation of the council, other than one that deals solely with the internal management of the council or its property, shall be adopted only after public notice and hearing.
Each party, in accordance with its respective statutory authorities and applicable procedures, may adopt and enforce rules and regulations to implement and enforce this compact and the programs adopted by such party to carry out the management programs contemplated by this compact.
Each party shall submit a report to the council and the regional body detailing its water management and conservation and efficiency programs that implement this compact. The report shall set out the manner in which water withdrawals are managed by sector, water source, quantity, or any other means, and how the provisions of the standard of review and decision and conservation and efficiency programs are implemented. The first report shall be provided by each party one year from the effective date of this compact and thereafter every 5 years.
The council, in cooperation with the provinces, shall review its water management and conservation and efficiency programs and those of the parties that are established in this compact and make findings on whether the water management program provisions in this compact are being met, and if not, recommend options to assist the parties in meeting the provisions of this compact. Such review shall take place:
Thirty days after the first report is submitted by all parties; and
As one of its duties and responsibilities, the council may recommend a range of approaches to the parties with respect to the development, enhancement, and application of water management and conservation and efficiency programs to implement the standard of review and decision reflecting improved scientific understanding of the waters of the basin, including groundwater, and the impacts of withdrawals on the basin ecosystem.
(4) Water management and regulation; water resources inventory, registration, and reporting. 281.343(4)(a)
Within 5 years of the effective date of this compact, each party shall develop and maintain a water resources inventory for the collection, interpretation, storage, retrieval, exchange, and dissemination of information concerning the water resources of the party, including but not limited to information on the location, type, quantity, and use of those resources and the location, type, and quantity of withdrawals, diversions, and consumptive uses. To the extent feasible, the water resources inventory shall be developed in cooperation with local, state, federal, tribal, and other private agencies and entities, as well as the council. Each party's agencies shall cooperate with that party in the development and maintenance of the inventory.
The council shall assist each party to develop a common base of data regarding the management of the water resources of the basin and to establish systematic arrangements for the exchange of those data with other states and provinces.
To develop and maintain a compatible base of water use information, within 5 years of the effective date of this compact any person who withdraws water in an amount of 100,000 gallons per day or greater average in any 30-day period, including consumptive uses, from all sources, or diverts water of any amount, shall register the withdrawal or diversion by a date set by the council unless the person has previously registered in accordance with an existing state program. The person shall register the withdrawal or diversion with the originating party using a form prescribed by the originating party that shall include, at a minimum and without limitation: the name and address of the registrant and date of registration; the locations and sources of the withdrawal or diversion; the capacity of the withdrawal or diversion per day and the amount withdrawn or diverted from each source; the uses made of the water; places of use and places of discharge; and such other information as the originating party may require. All registrations shall include an estimate of the volume of the withdrawal or diversion in terms of gallons per day average in any 30-day period.
All registrants shall annually report the monthly volumes of the withdrawal, consumptive use, and diversion in gallons to the originating party and any other information requested by the originating party.
Each party shall annually report the information gathered pursuant to this subsection to a Great Lakes — St. Lawrence River water use data base repository and aggregated information shall be made publicly available, consistent with the confidentiality requirements in sub. (8) (c)
Information gathered by the parties pursuant to this subsection shall be used to improve the sources and applications of scientific information regarding the waters of the basin and the impacts of the withdrawals and diversions from various locations and water sources on the basin ecosystem and to better understand the role of groundwater in the basin. The council and the parties shall coordinate the collection and application of scientific information to further develop a mechanism by which individual and cumulative impacts of withdrawals, consumptive uses, and diversions shall be assessed.
(4b) Water management and regulation; water conservation and efficiency programs. 281.343(4b)(a)
The council commits to identify, in cooperation with the provinces, basin-wide water conservation and efficiency objectives to assist the parties in developing their water conservation and efficiency programs. These objectives are based on the goals of:
Ensuring improvement of the waters and water dependent natural resources;
Protecting and restoring the hydrologic and ecosystem integrity of the basin;
Retaining the quantity of surface water and groundwater in the basin;
Promoting the efficiency of use and reducing losses and waste of water.
Within 2 years of the effective date of this compact, each party shall develop its own water conservation and efficiency goals and objectives consistent with the basin-wide goals and objectives and shall develop and implement a water conservation and efficiency program, either voluntary or mandatory, within its jurisdiction based on the party's goals and objectives. Each party shall annually assess its programs in meeting the party's goals and objectives, report to the council and the regional body, and make this annual assessment available to the public.
Beginning 5 years after the effective date of this compact, and every 5 years thereafter, the council, in cooperation with the provinces, shall review and modify as appropriate the basin-wide objectives, and the parties shall have regard for any such modifications in implementing their programs. This assessment will be based on examining new technologies, new patterns of water use, new resource demands and threats, and cumulative impact assessment under sub. (4z)
Within 2 years of the effective date of this compact, the parties commit to promote environmentally sound and economically feasible water conservation measures such as:
Identification and sharing of best management practices and state of the art conservation and efficiency technologies;
Development, transfer, and application of science and research.
Each party shall implement in accordance with par. (b)
a voluntary or mandatory water conservation program for all, including existing, basin water users. Conservation programs need to adjust to new demands and the potential impacts of cumulative effects and climate.
(4d) Water management and regulation; party powers and duties.