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Five Point Approach for Michigan Water Policy and Law

A Proposal of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation

January 23, 2004 |

  1. Adopt a Michigan Water Protection and Conservation Act that declares and asserts the State’s common law sovereign interest in the water as a public resource and declares it held in trust on behalf of its people and the State’s future security.
  2. Adopt a Prohibition Against Water Diversions for Sale Act to prohibit the diversion for sale of water (or, alternatively, outside of some other defined hydrogeological unit or, in addition, the Great Lakes basin) consistent with the Michigan Constitution, Art 4, Sec. 52, the common law of sovereign interests over water, and existing statutes.  (The State may decide to allow for narrow exceptions to the extent expressly authorized by the Legislature and/or through an authorized delegation to the appropriate administrative agency(s), such as the Department of Natural Resources and/or Department of Environmental Quality, but it must be done with utmost caution.)
  3. Adopt a Water Resources Protection, Conservation and Withdrawal Act that is consistent with the State’s public interest in the water, the public trust in navigable lakes and streams and their tributary waters, and the common law regarding private rights to use water under the riparian-groundwater law.
  4. Adopt a Water Resources Planning Act to establish a framework for the preparation of a State Water Resources Plan that accounts for the water, its use, its scarcity or abundance, its non-renewability if removed or diverted, its future need, conservation and feasible and prudent alternatives, its enhancement, within the State and Great Lakes basin as it relates to people, their health and safety, industry, recreation, and the sustainability of the environment and economy, and that accounts for its value, qualitative, quantitative, and economic.
  5. Adopt a Water Resources Protection and Conflict Resolution Act that provides for the resolution of conflicts between groundwater users or groundwater users and the environment, health, safety and general welfare, taking into account the standards in Part 3, above.  The resolution process would establish an Office of Water Conflict Resolution, which would process water conflict complaints and assign them to accredited mediators or alternative dispute resolution persons.
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