Water Withdrawal Transparency

Environmental Advocates Support this Bill

Explanation: 

This bill requires the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to post on its website data from water withdrawal permits issued to public water suppliers, including the maximum pumping capacity allowed under the permit and the results of well monitoring. This bill improves the accessibility of information on water management in New York State, which in turn enables the public to serve more effectively as a watchdog on water use, availability, and in-stream flow.

DEC regulates large withdrawals of water from our state’s lakes, rivers, and groundwater to ensure its sustainable use and long-term viability. The new law, put in place in 2011, requires permits for all water withdrawals, not only public water suppliers, with a capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day of potable and non-potable water. Each year, all permittees are required to submit an Annual Water Withdrawal Report to DEC with information including the water source capacity, amount of water withdrawn, and the use of the water.

We recommend that this bill be expanded to cover all water withdrawal permits issued by DEC, as a way to ensure greater accessibility of data that is critical to our understanding of water use and availability on a watershed scale. Information from private water uses is just as critical to keeping the public informed on how our water is being managed.

This bill provides greater transparency of and accessibility to our state’s water management data.

Summary: 

This bill amends Section 15-1503 of the Environmental Conservation Law to require DEC to post information on permits issued for a public water supply system on their website.

Memo #: 

28