URGENT - Groundwater Bill (AB 874) released today (Feb. 8) - Hearing set for Wed. Feb. 10

Public Hearing Wed. Feb. 10.  11:01 am North Hearing Room (2nd floor North) 
AB: 874 - Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Current law requires a person to obtain approval from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) before constructing or operating a high capacity well,
which is a well that, together with all other wells on the same property, has the capacity to withdraw more than 100,000 gallons of water per day.
This bill provides that no additional approval is needed for the owner of an approved high capacity well to repair or maintain the well; to construct a
replacement high capacity well of substantially the same depth within a 75-foot radius of the existing high capacity well; to reconstruct the existing high capacity well; or to transfer the approval at the same time as the owner transfers the land on which the approved high capacity well is located. No additional fee is required for any of these actions, but the owner of the existing approved high capacity well must
notify DNR of any replacement, reconstruction, or transfer. The owner may not take any of these actions if they would be inconsistent with the standards or conditions of the existing high capacity well approval, and the standards and conditions of the
approval continue to apply after any of these actions are taken.

This bill concerns Wisconsin Trout Unlimited for a number of reasons.


• High capacity wells can pump an incredibly significant amount of water per day (up to millions of gallons). Groundwater undeniably influences our lakes and coldwater streams, and in Wisconsin’s Central Sands region groundwater use is one factor leading to lakes and trout streams literally running dry. Wisconsin TU supports well considered and planned groundwater use, and fears that eliminating permitting and review steps may lead to adverse results.


• According to an American Sportfishing Association study, recreational angling in Wisconsin leads to a $2.2 BILLION annual economic impact. Wisconsin is the third ranked destination fishing state, with over 335,000 visiting anglers spending over $445 MILLION here each year. Anglers spend $1.4 BILLION on fishing related retail expenditures in Wisconsin each year, supporting over 21,000 jobs paying $665 MILLION in salaries and wages, and providing $148 MILLION in local and state tax revenue. Ensuring that reasonable permitting and review steps exist for high capacity wells is necessary to make sure that Wisconsin’s waters continue to serve as an economic engine for our State.


• As our State continues to grow and as groundwater use increases, and as rainfall levels vary from year to year, regions’ capabilities to sustain high capacity water withdrawals fluctuate. Quite simply, groundwater levels change and as such levels change common sense dictates that it is reasonable to ensure that water use is adjusted accordingly. Eliminating permitting and review steps where common sense adjustments could be applied has the potential to lead to disastrous results.



Please contact your legislators, and tell them that AB 874/SB239 needs to be sent back to the drawing board, and not advanced. You can find your legislators’ contact information here: http://legis.wisconsin.gov.

(use the “Find my Legislators” link in the upper right corner).


Contact information for the Assembly Committee on Environment and Forestry can be found here:



Thank you for taking the time to speak up for Wisconsin's Cold Water Resources.