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Water Fees for Great Lakes Basin (CR10-061)

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The Final Rulemaking Order was filed November 15, 2010.




This rule is one of seven rules that the DNR is directed to promulgate as a result of 2009 Wisconsin Act 28, the 2009-10 State Budget, and 2007 Wisconsin Act 227, the legislation ratifying the implementing the Great Lakes Compact in Wisconsin. The other rules include Water Conservation & Use EfficiencyWater Use Registration and ReportingWater Supply Service Area Planning; Water Loss and Consumptive Use; Water Use Permitting; and Water Use Public Participation.


The fees collected will be used to defray the cost of implementing the Great Lakes Compact. Specifically:

  • Building a water resources inventory.
  • Developing methods to monitor groundwater and surface water quantity and to assess the impacts of withdrawals.
  • Implementation of the registration, reporting, permitting and all other related requirements of the Compact.




The 2009-2011 State Budget, Section 281.346(12) of 2009 Wisconsin Act 28, directed the DNR to promulgate a rule on water use fees.




Section 281.326 Wis. Stats. sets a base fee of $125 annually for anyone with a water supply system (e.g. well or surface water withdrawal) with the capacity to withdraw an average of 100,000 gallons per day in any 30–day period. The rule implements an additional Great Lakes basin-specific fee on persons who withdraw more than 50 million gallons of water per year (MGY).

The rule governing the fee for persons withdrawing more than 50 MGY in the Great Lakes basin is structured in tiers, with the first tier imposing a fee of $1.50 per million gallons withdrawn between 50 MGY and 100 MGY. The second tier imposes a fee of$2.00 per million gallons withdrawn between 100 and 150 MGY. The fee per million gallons increases by $0.50 for each 50 million gallon tier up to the point where each million gallons pumped over 500 million gallons is charged a fee of $6.00.

Amount Withdrawn Fee Per Million Gallons
50 MGY to 100 MGY $1.50
100 MGY to 150 MGY $2.00
150 MGY to 200 MGY $2.50
200 MGY to 250 MGY $3.00
250 MGY to 300 MGY $3.50
300 MGY to 350 MGY $4.00
350 MGY to 400 MGY $4.50
400 MGY to 450 MGY $5.00
450 MGY to 500 MGY $5.50
500 MGY+ $6.00


The additional fee for withdrawals exceeding 50 MGY from the Great Lakes basin is capped at $9,500 for most water supply systems on any contiguous property, or for a public water supply system.


The legislature requested the DNR revise the rule to have a lower cap on fees for small businesses. The NRB approved the revisions at its October 27, 2010 meeting. Fees for small businesses are now capped at $1,000 instead of $9,500.


Additional Information




This rule was adopted at the August 10 Natural Resources Board meeting.


Comments were due July 7, 2010.


Public hearings were held on this rule and related rules June 28, 29, 30, 2010.


The DNR Water Use Rules website


Great Lakes Basin Map


Related Documents