Session 1: Water School Webinar Series - Water Quantity
October 9, 2020
MSU Extension Water School is a policy-neutral, fact-based program. The objective of this program is to provide local decision-makers, appointed and elected officials, and municipal staff with critical, relevant information needed to understand Michigan’s water resources, including the fundamentals of water science, in order to support sound water management decisions and increase awareness of current and future local and state water issues.
Session 1: Water Quantity - Presenter Ruth Kline-Robach, Academic Specialist; Institute for Water Research
Panelists Dr. Dave Lusch former MSU Department of Geology professor; Jim Milne Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy Water Use Assessment Unit Supervisor; Kris Olsson Huron River Watershed Council Ecologist
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the Water School Webinar series. This webinar number one of four between today and November 19th. My name is Mary Bohling I'm an educator with the MSU Extension Sea Grant program. I'll be your host and moderator throughout the webinar series, as indicated in the opening slides MSU programs are open to anyone and everyone. If you find yourself having technical difficulties please type into the chat and we'll have someone try and help you. Today's webinar is being recorded and includes a presentation on water quantity followed by q & a with the presenter. Then a panel discussion and more q & a with panelists if time allows. Because this is a webinar format the speaker option is not available for participants instead please type your questions into the q & a box or the chat box. My colleagues will be monitoring the questions and will present them during the q & a portions of the agenda. Questions that go unanswered today during the webinar will be addressed and sent out to all participants about a week after the webinar. Okay let's get started, our presenter today for the water quantity topic is Ruth Kline-Robach. Ruth is an outreach specialist with the MSU Department of Community Sustainability and and Institute of Water Research. Ruth has more than 25 years of experience in community-based water resources management issues and provides training programs and technical assistance related to watershed management, wellhead protection, and stormwater management. She works with state and local agencies and organizations to promote the development of source water protection programs and coordinates MSU's federal stormwater permit activities in partnership with communities throughout the greater Lansing region. Welcome Ruth thank you for joining us today. I'll be stopping the sharing of my screen so that you can share your screen. Great thank you Mary, hi everybody I am really happy to be here with you to discuss water quantity issues. I'm going to share my screen and I'll have a presentation for you. I hope my goal for today is to provide some background to you regarding water quantity issues and then hopefully transition to a really rich discussion with our excellent panel members today. I'd like to acknowledge my colleagues before we get started Dr. Pat Norris in the Department of Community Sustainability and Dr. Dave Lush in the Department of Geography who's here as a panel member today, they really put this curriculum together and and I thank them for that. So, let's get started my objective for today is to uh hope to cover uh what uh ways that Michigan residents use our state's freshwater resources. We're going to talk about a lot about groundwater today and the connection between groundwater and surface water and we'll talk about the availability of our freshwater resources in Michigan, and what that means to you our audience member as local officials who are making land use planning decisions that impact water. So, let's start at the beginning and take a look at a satellite photograph of earth. 71 percent of the earth's surface is covered with water you may have heard it referred to as spaceship earth and maybe you remember learning that 97 percent of all of the water on earth is actually in the oceans and saline lakes. So, it's too salty for us to do anything with it without extensive treatment, it's not readily available to us. So, that leaves three percent of all of that water on earth that is what we would consider fresh water meaning water that's not salty. If we think about that remaining three percent of fresh water the majority of that is frozen. So, it's locked up in the ice caps and glaciers, and I'll put this table up just to show you that of the remaining available fresh water, meaning fresh water that's not frozen. The majority of it exists as groundwater and so that's why I'm really interested in talking about groundwater resources with you today. So, if we go back to maybe second grade and think about the water cycle. The hydrosphere includes all of the water on earth water in the oceans, lakes, streams, groundwater, water vapor in the atmosphere and that is all existing in a closed system. All that ever was is here now and it's just continually being recycled so this is the water cycle or the hydrologic cycle. The sun of course is the driving energy source moving water through vegetation and into clouds while gravity is driving runoff and stream flow. So, we are in a rather exalted position here in Michigan smack dab in the middle of 20 percent of the world's fresh surface water supply. 87 percent of North America's fresh water. Water has shaped the history of our state and if we were in a classroom setting I would ask you all to think about who uses water what purposes is the water used for and depending on your background your perspective your answers might vary. So, of course water is not only essential to life people and ecosystems food production it also provides transportation, recreation, waste removal, a sense of place, and beauty, and it holds important cultural and spiritual value to us as well. If we think about the sources of water here in the state of Michigan we're using surface water and that's lakes, rivers, and streams, and groundwater, that's water found in our aquifers and we're going to talk more about that in a moment. Let's think for a moment though about what we are using that surface water and that groundwater for. This is a graphic of water use water withdrawals in the state of Michigan from 2017. So, this is both surfaced surface and groundwater withdrawals and you'll see that the vast majority of that water use is for thermoelectric power generation. We also have categories for industry and irrigation and public water supply and domestic self-supply which would be water wells. This data is for large larger quantity withdrawals overall, so there are maybe other categories we're just looking at the big lumpies right now. So, let's take a look at the type of use and the source of water that it's using. So, I want to point out a couple of interesting items on this graph that you're seeing here domestic self-supplied is groundwater, so that's the our private water wells that are tapping into our aquifers. So, those of you who have your own well you're familiar with this is our domestic self-supplied water. The vast majority of water withdrawn by public water supplies is actually coming from surface waters. In most cases the Great Lakes or connecting channels, and then the most of the thermoelectric power use almost all of it is using surface water supplies. So, that's surface water and groundwater together now we also want to distinguish this between what we call consumptive use of water and non-consumptive use, and let me explain what I mean by that. This table shows it's comparing total water withdrawals by sector here in this column to consumptive use in the Great Lakes compact and we're going to talk about this a fair amount today. Consumptive use is defined as that portion of water that's withdrawn or withheld from the Great Lakes basin that's not returned to the basin incorporated in other products or other processes. Thermoelectric generation and irrigation on this graph show I think demonstrate really well how this differs most of the water that is withdrawn for. Thermoelectric power generation is coming from surface water it's used and then it's returned to the source with only a small amount lost to evaporation. That's considered a non-consumptive use of the water, and I want you to compare that to water use for irrigation and again this is millions of gallons per day where the vast majority of that water used for irrigation purposes is not being returned to the basin and is thus considered a consumptive use of water.
I want to look a little bit at our public water supply sources and before I do that I want to explain briefly the classification system that we use in Michigan for our public water supplies. So, public supplies are classified based on how many members of the public are being served over a certain period of time. So, on the top of that chart you see community supplies those are we sometimes refer to those as type 1 public water supplies. They're serving at least 25 residents or 15 living units in the case of an apartment complex or a nursing home and you can compare that to smaller systems which we refer to as non-community supplies they're serving uh the at least 25 people but for lesser amounts of time. We further divide non-community supplies into whether it's the same people that are drinking the water like in the case of a school or a daycare center and people who are passing through who are transient, such as people on vacation stopping at a gas station or staying at a hotel. But really I just want you to get the idea that we have community supplies and non-community supplies and I'm going to show you uh some maps of our public supply systems.
So, this first one is showing public water supply systems that are using surface water. In Michigan a little over half of the state's population is using surface water and we have about 60 public supplies that are tapping into surface water sources. So, as I mentioned before most of these are coastal communities and they're drawing water from the Great Lakes or connecting channels. We do have a handful of supplies that are inland that are using inland surface water supplies. Pretty much all of the big population centers along the coast are using Great Lakes water.
This map is showing community public supply systems that rely on groundwater as the source of drinking water. So, these red dots that you see here are actually groundwater wells that are serving community water supplies. Now look at this these are our non-community supplies that are using groundwater so all of these represent water wells that are serving those smaller non-community systems restaurants gas stations schools campgrounds etc. that are serving the public, but that are not on a larger municipal system.
Now we also have a one and a quarter million private household wells in the state of Michigan. So, we have uh we're drawing a lot of groundwater and I want to talk more about what that means. What are we talking about when I say we're using groundwater sources? So, when we say groundwater I'm talking about the water beneath the surface of the earth that is located in the saturated zone. So, it's kind of like a sponge we've got pore spaces in the soil particles we've got fractures in the rock and they're filled with water. It's the saturated zone everything beneath the water table is considered groundwater. So, you might be familiar with the term water table you get a nice rain in the spring and the water table rises and you get you know water in your basement and then in the summer months maybe the water table drops and we have lower groundwater levels in Michigan. We have a couple of different types of aquifers. An aquifer is a geologic media that can store and transmit groundwater and we divide those up between bedrock and glacial aquifers. Bedrock aquifers are those that are in hard rock or consolidated materials like sandstone and glacial aquifers are is where the groundwater is stored in glacial sediment such as sands, and gravels, and clays, and those sediments are deposited on top of the bedrock throughout Michigan.
So, I put a couple of graphics in here just to help you visualize what I'm talking about this is an example of a bedrock aquifer, so large scale stresses over time have created cracks and fissures in the rock and then the water the groundwater is held in those fractures.
And this the picture on the left is exposed to the surface what it might look like so there's actually groundwater held in those fractures that's groundwater in the bedrock. Now I want you to compare that to groundwater flow through pores where we have sands, and gravels, and clays and all kinds of mixtures left by the glaciers thousands of years ago, and the pore spaces between those soil particles are filled with water. That is water in our glacial aquifers. I'm sharing with you here a picture of a groundwater flow model which shows how groundwater moves in the saturated zone. So, what we're looking at here is an unconfined drift aquifer, glacial aquifer from the surface down to the first confining layer of clay or something that's impermeable and then another drift aquifer or glacial aquifer beneath that confining layer and then at depth a bedrock aquifer and you can see the fractures in the bedrock. Because of time constraints on today's webinar I don't have time to take you through a demonstration of the groundwater model but we are going to share with you a video that my MSU Extension colleague Bindu Bhakta recorded for you so that you can look at how groundwater moves through the system. You can see the red dye is moving through the well and we put water through this model so you can watch how water moves through the pore spaces and the fractures and I really encourage you to look at that video once you get that link because it's a great visual of how groundwater is connected to surface water .
Because we will see groundwater move through the system and discharge into the river that you see here on the left hand side of the model. So, that's groundwater flow and groundwater in many cases in Michigan is discharging into our surface water supplies. So, let's talk a little bit about water in our lakes, rivers, and streams where is it coming from? So, there are four main sources and two of them are dominant. Those two are overland flow what many of us refer to as runoff where the water is landing on the surface it's flowing by the force of gravity to the nearest water body following contour flow paths. And the other is base flow base flow I want you to remember that term we call it groundwater flow here and essentially what is happening is the groundwater is moving beneath the surface and discharging into our surface water supplies, and so groundwater discharge or base flow and runoff are two primary sources of water in our surface waters. We also have precipitation where the rain or snow is falling directly into the stream channel and interflow which is the lateral movement or seepage of water in what we call the vadose zone or the unsaturated zone. So, groundwater discharge or base flow and runoff are our two primary sources of water in streams. So, why why do we care about that? Do we care about that? Yes, we do and it's because number one groundwater is influencing surface water groundwater is discharging to surface water, so it's influencing the amount of water found in the stream but because of that it's also influencing the temperature of water in our surface water supplies.
Since groundwater temperatures are much cooler than our shallow surface water temperatures in the summer period streams that receive more base flow tend to be cooler in July. Think about that if any of you are trout fisher people you know that right? You go into a river you go into the Au Sable in the middle of summer when we haven't had rain and the water is so cold and refreshing. That's base flow it's groundwater and what we're seeing the blue colors that you see on this map are Michigan streams that are classified as cold or cold transitional or cool they tend to get more base flow. You can see the spatial pattern of warmer streams in the lower peninsula where we have fine textured sediments and that's limiting recharge, so runoff is dominant in those locations so thus the streams are warmer.
And it's this this temperature change and and volume change that it that we're using as the basis for some of our water withdrawal regulations which we're going to talk about. I also wanted to include this graphic and you're going to see this again in other Water School units but I think it's important to show this because we have to remember that urbanization of the landscape is also influencing groundwater flow because in essence what we're doing is limiting recharge.
As we increase the amount of impervious cover so buildings, roadways, sidewalks, we increase runoff and we're there by decreasing infiltration. So, we have more water entering our waterways at a faster rate it's running off the landscape finding the nearest water body and we are not allowing that deep infiltration to occur because there's no no way for the water to get beneath the surface to infiltrate.
So, I want to talk a little bit about water availability and it's important to understand that water availability is is highly variable and there are there are a couple of reasons for that. The first one is we have natural limits to the availability of water okay. We have natural limits and we have regulatory limits. So, aquifers vary in their yield how much water can actually be accessed by a well. Groundwater quality is not necessarily suitable for all uses at all times. We have changes in base flow so we have some streams that do not flow all year they would not be considered perennial streams rather they're considered intermittent streams that flow after rain events and sometimes have base flow. And then we also have surface water quality uh variations some sometimes we have surface water that is not suitable for all uses. So, that's the natural limits we'll get back to that in just a moment. We also have regulatory limits that uh that constrain our availability to use the water. In 2008 congress ratified the Great Lakes
St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources compact we all refer to it as the Great Lakes compact or
the compact and Michigan's enabling legislation to that compact regulates what we call large quantity withdrawals. Those are withdrawals of greater than 70 gallons per minute which is 100 000 gallons per day so it and Jim Milne is going to speak more about this in the panel discussion, but basically we're looking at restrictions on large surface water and groundwater withdrawals based on their potential impact on aquatic ecosystems. So, how do we know where groundwater is available for use? Let's go back to the natural limits to availability where are the wells accessing the glacial aquifers versus the bedrock aquifers well. Let's take a look, this is data from our waterwell and pump records that are in a database called well logic which is managed by the state of Michigan EGLE Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. And it's uh this is 600 000 water well and pump records and you can see that the vast majority of the wells are located in the glacial aquifers. Those are the blue dots on the map the orange dots are those that are in the bedrock. So, the glacial wells dominate because we have overburden of glacial material it's thick. There are some white spaces on this map so you'll see Wayne County, Southern Oakland, Macomb counties, Flint, Grand Rapids these are urban areas that are accessing surface water for their drinking water supplies so the population in these areas are not going to have private wells. Private water wells are going to be very limited in those areas.
While it's true that we have a bedrock well it's true that bedrock exists everywhere at depth not all bedrock is created equal regarding groundwater resources. So, this map is showing our bedrock aquifers in Michigan not looking at the unconsolidated glacial materials, just the bedrock and I want you to notice the pink areas in the upper peninsula that's made up of hard rocks like igneous and metamorphic rock which do not serve as good aquifers they they only have groundwater stored in faults and fractures. They don't have any primary porosity pore spaces to hold water. The light blue colored areas that you see are rocks that are not good aquifer materials they're old the fractures and the core spaces are filled
over many many hundreds and thousands of years and on the other hand if you look at the eastern upper peninsula and many other locations in the lower peninsula those dark blue areas we have plenty of groundwater, although we do have variable yields.
I want to point out the tan areas that you see on this map primarily in the lower peninsula are the shales and although shale contains groundwater they typically don't make good aquifer materials because the water is difficult to extract, it's held too tightly in those those types of soils or rock. So, what affects the availability of groundwater for use? In some locations we know the bedrock aquifers aren't used because the water is either too deep the bedrock's too deep, or
and it's not feasible to access it financially feasible, or the water is not of good quality. We get to depth where a depth where water is simply too salty to drink. So, let's take a look at that the Michigan sedimentary basin which is responsible for all the bedrock in the eastern upper peninsula and throughout the lower peninsula is a series of rock strata that are in a kind of bowl-shaped form like the nesting bowls that I have a picture of up in the corner there of this of the slide. The oldest rocks are at the bottom and the youngest are at the top and in most places the rocks are covered with glacial material, so the glacial material here is depicted with with this outline that you see here. So, we can see this is a cross section this is a little bit light but here's the lower peninsula so we're taking a a slab right through here from Oceana county on the western part of the state over to the east side at Huron county. And you can see so this is our our cross section here and we have kind of this pattern of on-again off-again aquifers and confining units. So, because the rocks were laid down over eons of time as marine sediments we ended up with a sequence of of rocks that looks like this. So, we have layers of aquifers and layers of confining units but what I really want to point out is this red dashed line that you see here and that is the freshwater and saline water interface. So, all of the rocks beneath that dashed line it represents really salty water like salty salty water many times saltier than ocean water salty water I'm talking salty water. So, really in reality the only potable water the drinkable water would be in the upper part of that basin and then of course in the glacial materials. So, in the uppermost strata and the glacial materials would be where we're accessing our drinking water. So, one of the the biggest factors influencing whether we're going to use the bedrock aquifer or not is is how far it is beneath the surface. So, this map on the left shows the thickness of the glacial materials so in many parts of the lower peninsula you can see the glacial materials are really thick that red er red-ish areas those are thick materials. So, we only drill a well as deep as we need to drill to get usable good water. So, we pay by the foot when we drill a well so we aren't going to go deeper than we need to go and what that means is that we for the most part are using wells that are in the glacial aquifers and that's depicted on this map that we looked at earlier. So, the glacial wells again are in the blue the bedrock wells are the orange and and they coincide then with the types of material we tend to see in these green areas tighter materials that have low hydraulic conductivity. So, we we would tend to go into the bedrock in those locations.
So, there are some places where the bedrock simply doesn't provide enough water in some types of formations the water is just too tight to easily extract so let's take a look at that. This is a map that shows uh yield an estimate of how much water can be extracted based on the native properties of the aquifer, and so in the areas that are orange and red the amount is relatively low. The white areas on this map are the shale units where we we would not expect to have aquifers in here. So, if in general we say that a domestic well needs to yield somewhere between between 10 and 20 gallons per minute, and so in those areas that are colored red and some of the orange areas we wouldn't expect to see very many domestic wells accessing the bedrock aquifer. There's simply not enough water there and you notice we also have that in Monroe County in the southeastern portion of the state where it's sometimes very difficult to access enough water for a household well.
So, Michigan has extensive deposits of glacial material that we talked about before but the amount of water availability from those glacial deposits also differs across the state. So, this map is showing estimated yield and again that's the amount of pumpage that the aquifer can sustain of our glacial aquifers. And so in areas west and north of Saginaw Bay glacial aquifers are productive sources of drinking water. In general the areas of Michigan where we have really fine textured glacial sediments the low hydraulic conductivity soils the water can't transmit very well we don't have as much production in those areas. So, the bluer and kind of tealy colored areas are more highly productive glacial aquifers.
So, I want to ask just a couple of questions as we go through and one of those what I think are critical questions about water use when we're talking about water quantity is this question of, How are groundwater withdrawals affecting or potentially affecting surface water?
I want to talk a little bit about that. So, there are a couple of impacts to consider when we withdrawl groundwater from a well. So, when we we drill a well we put a pump on the well and we start pumping okay. We're taking water out of that aquifer. So, first we're withdrawing groundwater and then we're potentially decreasing the flow of water in the river and let me explain what I
mean by that. When we pump a well the water is removed from storage in the aquifer and the head or the pressure near the well is reduced which is inducing flow toward the well itself. As water is removed from storage a cone of depression is forming around well. That's what we're looking at here in this particular graphic. Cone of depression just like when you stick a straw in a McDonald's really thick one of those really thick chocolate shakes and you suck up the straw you can see the cone of depression you're making. We're doing the same thing with the water well.
So, we pump the water out and the cone of depression will continue to expand across the aquifer until the pumpage is balanced by a decrease in discharge from the system. So, we call that the change in discharge due to pumping is called capture and I want to show you what I mean by that in this series of graphics that we're looking at here.
So, let's take a look this these diagrams are showing a landscape same landscape at different points in time. So, the top graphic is no pumping is happening right now okay the groundwater divide is right here you see this red dotted line along the left-hand side of this graphic.
all of the groundwater is moving through that system and discharging to this stream.
All of the groundwater is moving through that system and discharging to this stream. Look what happens when we pump groundwater from the system. We've sunk a well here right here in the second graphic. We've installed the well we've put a pump on and the the well is pumping at some discharge q1 as we said before with pumpage a cone of depression occurs okay? And we can see that now we are shifting the groundwater divide from the far left-hand side part of the column to in between the pumping well and the stream. So, we're diverting water to the well can you see how the water now is flowing from this side of the diagram into that water well and only a small amount is actually discharging to the stream. The stream is still a gaining stream but it's gaining less than it was gaining before we sunk that well and started pumping. So, lastly on the bottom graphic let's say we increase the rate of pumping or we pump long enough we can actually shift that groundwater divide and force it into the stream or even on to the other side of the stream.
So, all of the groundwater is being diverted into the well and the water is actually leaving the stream channel and moving into the pumping well. So, the source of water from a pumping well is from storage or stream flow capture and it just depends on the aquifer characteristics and the distance of well from the stream and all kinds of other things, but i think this reinforces the point that groundwater has a direct effect and potentially direct impact on surface water.
Okay, so now here's a interesting question I want you to ponder. Are our water withdrawals sustainable? And we're going to ask our panel members to weigh in on this. If we think about water withdrawals I think there's a common there tends to be a common misconception that if we take out a certain amount of groundwater it's safe as if we're withdrawing at a rate that's less than the natural recharge. But the problem with that assumption is that really sustainable groundwater withdrawals don't really have a lot to do with what we consider natural recharge. The quantity of sustainable groundwater withdrawal is really depending almost entirely on how much the water withdrawal reduces the quantity of groundwater that would otherwise be discharging into the stream. So, I want us to to think about that this this conception of or this idea of safe yield and what that means because we have to consider the adverse effects to stream ecology, to habitat due to flow reduction, loss of wetlands, loss of riparian ecosystem. So, keep that in the back of your mind as we continue through today today's discussion because we're going to talk some more about that.
So, our water withdrawal assessment process in the state of Michigan is actually looking at how we are ensuring that our large quantity withdrawals are not individually and are not collectively damaging aquatic ecosystems. So, as I said before this uh legislation went into place in 2008 and we're regulating large surface water and groundwater withdrawals based on their potential impact on aquatic ecosystems. So, how is the stream flow and the surface water temperature affecting those ecosystems, and Jim's going to talk more about that we're looking at the potential for adverse resource impacts from those large quantity withdrawals. So, another big question is,
what are the implications of climate change for water availability? And I'm sure that many of you who are on today's webinar have at least read some articles or participated in some discussions about this. It is anticipated that we are going to see increased annual precipitation across the Great Lakes region, potentially you know up between three and six inches. We have observed weather data that we can actually see increased frequency and increased intensity of severe rain events so, we are projecting increased frequency and increased intensity and potentially increased evapotranspiration with warmer air temperatures. And there are a number of studies that are underway or have been completed with where we have actually observed whether system changes. This is one example from Ann Arbor that was reported by NOAA where we saw significant increases in total precipitation and you know look at when that significant increase was it was during the winter season, and then increased frequency of what we would consider very heavy precipitation days. So, you as a local official who is tasked with long-range planning, How do we adapt to that? What are we going to do to manage our water resources in a world where we're dealing with these these changes in water availability? So, if we think about our anticipated changes in hydrology we're talking about lower low flows so in the summer time uh not as much base flow, longer low flow periods, increased peak flows, so we get extreme precipitation events too much water coming in at once our infrastructure is not necessarily designed to handle those extreme flow events. I didn't put any pictures up here but we here on campus at MSU dealt with a pretty significant flood event in February of 2018 and we you know we kicked our emergency services into gear but it was very expensive and very stressful and I know many of you have examples in your own communities trying to adapt to some of these big precipitation events. We also have to think about what's happening with our groundwater. So, if the rainfall intensity exceeds the infiltration capacity of the soil as it would during a winter season for example with frozen soils we get more runoff. More runoff and less infiltration which means less recharge to our aquifers so we have to think about that in terms of water resources management. What does that mean at the at the local level? Those are some pretty heavy hitting questions so what the heck do we do about it I hope I don't leave you with this feeling of hopelessness because there are a lot of things that we can consider and I think just asking the questions and starting to do some of the research is an important step. So, how can we respond to some of our water availability challenges? Well we can we can kind of just say assessment planning and negotiation and what do I mean by that I put an example here this is a report that was completed by SEMCOG for Southeast Michigan Water Resources Plan not too long ago. So, we can take the first step of doing some assessments and I think Dr. Lush is going to talk about some of our local examples or some communities who
have done this. So, can we gather available data look at what kind of information is out there? What kind of programs are already in place that are addressing water resources issues? And I have a couple of slides at the end and I'll just show you some examples but we've got communities that are working on wellhead protection planning we have communities that are doing stormwater federal stormwater permit requirements we have watershed management plans that are being done all of those are pieces to the puzzle. So, your job as local officials is to try to make some sense of that figure out who the players are figure out figure out where the data is and then see what kind of planning you can do. Now in some cases there's you you won't have a lot of opportunity for local control and an example of that is the water withdrawal assessment process.
That's regulated at the state level. However, at the local level we do have land use planning controls. So, we might have opportunities to tap into some of these other programs like I mentioned before and we can look at other types of data to fill in to fill in the gaps and then there will have to be at some point in the future negotiation. So, how are we going to manage conflict between different users between different sectors and a part of the water withdrawal assessment process in in our state water use regulations is the potential for local water user committees to get together and make decisions about the water use within the community. ,and we will talk some more about that. So, I'll leave you with just a couple of examples of some data that is available and this is just two that you know we have statewide data for. The first is we have wellhead protection areas for all of our public water supplies our type 1 supplies and our type 2 supply non-community supplies. So, we know where the the areas that are recharging those public supply wells when they're pumping over a 10 year time period. We call that a wellhead protection area. We have those wellhead protection areas delineated you can access those. So, that's one example and your community may have an active wellhead program in place. We also have a lot of 319 watershed plans approved this is these the 319 comes from the clean water act this is federal legislation specifically dealing with surface water and it's a grant nonpoint source grant program to to do watershed planning. And so we have a lot of approved watershed management plans throughout the state of Michigan and what that means is those plans have a lot of the really rich background information about land use and wetlands and different types of water ways and all kinds of rich information that you have access to. So, and there are other localized programs we have some like Ottawa County, which I don't know if Dr. Lush will have time to get to but but there are communities that have worked on various local data collection data gathering plans and programs that will help you as you try to assess what's happening in your community. So, with that I think I'm going to to to wrap it up and open this up for questions, or if you need clarification on anything that I talked about and we will take a little bit of time for questions and then move on to the panel because we've got a whole bunch of really interesting things to discuss with our panel members. Thank you Ruth appreciate it, so we do have about 15 minutes now that we will be able to answer some questions, pose some questions to Ruth and I'm going to turn it over to my colleague at Michigan Sea Grant Geneva Langland who will pose the questions to Ruth that you all have been entering into the q & a in the chat.
So we'll have about 15 minutes Geneva thank you Mary, and thank you Ruth. Just a reminder the q & a box is still open so if you have questions that you'd like us to answer or address during these 15 minutes please continue to submit those.
Let's start with this one, how can I learn the source of my own drinking water? Oh that's such a great question. If you are on a private well you likely know that you have your own water supply right? Because you've got a wellhead and you know maybe you've had to do some kind of maintenance on it or you know you're doing something right.
If you're on a public water supply system and by the way don't feel bad if you don't know the source of your drinking water because there's that old saying when the wells dry we know the worth of water. Oftentimes if we turn on the tap and there's no problem and everything seems fine we really don't think about it. So, it's just you know let's think about it moving forward.
If you don't know so if you're on a public water supply system and you haven't thought about the source of your water your local municipality whoever you're paying your water bill to is your point of contact. They're considered a public water supply. Again this is under the federal safe drinking water act this act is was passed in 1974 and what that means is all public water supplies have to meet standards there's a whole list of contaminants that they have to be in compliance with so they're doing regular testing. In 1996 we had some amendments passed to that safe drinking water act that included among other things the fact that our municipal supplies our public supplies have to notify the public of what's happening with their water supply. So, we call that a consumer confidence report most of us refer to it as a water quality report. So, that will tell you the source of your drinking water supply. Most of them are available online, so you can check your municipality's website. If you have a municipality that has a little bit of a tough website to maneuver some of them are a little bit challenging I would just suggest going online and doing a search for the name of your municipality and water quality report. So, for example I would just type in I'd go to google and I type in city of East Lansing water quality report and that report will pop up and then among other things it will tell you the source of that water supply and in addition. So, that's your your consumer confidence report slash water quality report EGLE, Department of Environment, Great Lakes,
and Energy maintains a spreadsheet of drinking water sources for public water supply. So, if you go to their website to the drinking water program you will find if you poke around on that website you will find a listing of drinking water sources and by the way for those of you who are on private wells if you're interested you can access the well logic database and see if you can find your water well in pump record. Now there are some that we just can't find there you know this has been implemented over many many years decades and some of the well records are missing but but it's kind of interesting to access if you can't find yours you can access your neighbor's waterwell and pump record just to see how deep the well is what kind of lithology the well is going through and what not. And and while I have the opportunity we're not talking a lot about water quality in the session but if you have a private water well you as the well owner are responsible for water testing so um don't think don't be complacent and think that the safe drinking water act is covering private water supply so you have to be proactive and it's real easy to do you can go to the drinking water laboratory EGLE
drinking water laboratory and get your well tested at least for some basic stuff fairly cheaply.
Excellent thank you for that. So, in a related note we have somebody who's wondering where he might find wellhead protection area maps for his particular region where would someone find resources like that? That's a really good question so I would say if you're in a particular area you might start with your municipality and see if they have an approved wellhead program in place. But in the absence of that there are online resources where we can access that and I think what would be better is if one of our coordinators for today's webinar can make a little note. I will provide you with a link to the geo webface application it's a it's a State of Michigan application where and it's pretty easy to use if i can use it trust me it's easy to use and we have all of the wellhead protection areas accessible on that mapping site and you don't have to know GIS to use it. So, I would be happy to share that link with you um in the follow-up to this webinar.
Perfect and that's a good time to note that we will be or to remind that folks that we will be sending out answers to questions we didn't get to live and we'll have resources that we can send out then so you don't have to memorize urls off the the screen right now. Let's see question so we've been watching as other parts of the country especially the west and the southwest deal with lots of water scarcity and water shortage issues.
It seems like Michigan being surrounded by the Great Lakes we would be immune to those sorts of challenges is that something that we might have to face someday or are our aquifers and sort of surface water reserves pretty secure? Yeah that's a really good question and we're actually going to address that in our panel this discussion. We have had areas of the state where we we are seeing uh conflict and potential conflict certainly nothing I would say like some of our extremely water stressed parts of the U.S. in the western U.S., but Jim Milne is going to be discussing that in the panel discussion specifically, so I will let him answer that question when we get to that discussion. It's a good question.
Right we won't spoil it then we'll get to it soon. We have had several questions about a delicate topic in Michigan Nestle and its water withdrawals in the state for their bottling operations.
Have there been, what are sort of the the takeaways from studies that have been done analyses that have been done of the impact of that bottling operation? Do we see any withdrawal impacts on streams and rivers near there?
Yeah the Nestle case is interesting and I certainly don't have the hydro geo studies to to sit here and say oh my you know this has happened x, y, and z. But I will say the Nestle case raises really really interesting questions
about kind of really just fundamental questions about the rights to water and how we regulate water use not only in Michigan but across the U.S. So, I you know for those of you who have been following this case this is already I mean this started back in what like early 2000's and we're still uh we're still battling water use for water bottling and
how I guess I would would say to you to think about that from your local perspective. There are no easy answers. This is an example of what we call in in my department, the Department of Community Sustainability, a wicked problem because there are so many factors that come into play and some of it is you know it it's related to
the commercial aspects and what we think about
rights to the water. So, I will say that there have been a lot of hydrogel there's been so much hydro geo analysis done on the nestle site and there have been there there are so many arguments both for and against aspects of that. So, I'm not sure how to answer that question I think there are a lot of of issues that are raised by by Nestle and if you look at overall water use in the grand you know in the grand scheme across the state it's relatively small, but if you look at local impacts that could very well be you know a really large issue and precedence setting is is probably the bigger issue there too. So, I guess I'm the the gist of it is I really don't know how to answer that question I'm not familiar specifically with the hydrogel studies but I will say that has been something that we've been watching for more than two decades which is amazing about two decades which is amazing. Yep, a conversation that will not be over anytime soon certainly. I want to thank one attendee for dropping in the link for the EGLE water well viewer website and this attendee also says you can turn on a viewing layer to get maps for type 1 and type 2 non-transient public water supplies.
So I will transfer that link over into the chat but we'll also make sure it gets captured in the resources that are sent after the presentation is done. A question about groundwater and surface water kind of contamination so if groundwater contains a known contaminant this particular person is wondering about iron ochre but that could be any other contaminant is that guaranteed to find its way into nearby surface water? Or can contaminants sort of stay in an aquifer and not move through the landscape? That's a good question and and it's very it's highly variable and it depends on things like the the local geology. It depends on the soil type and the rate of flow, but it also depends on the particular contaminants. So, there are some contaminants that we dense non-aqueous phase liquids for example that are very heavy contaminants that tend to sink to the bottom of the aquifer. They're very difficult to move through the system very difficult to clean up. So, it depends on you know if the particular pollutant dissolves in the groundwater and moves with the groundwater and so there are so many variables and the plume of different contaminants moves at different rates. So, you might be within a plume of a contaminant and and the neighbor across the street might be on the very edge so you know groundwater might be moving
from your site into an area surface water but not to another site. So, it's it's really location specific and it depends on the contaminant and that's something where you'd want to if you have a question about a particular contaminant is see what kind of studies have already been done, see if there's any activity going on through EGLE
or you know state agencies uh that where maybe contaminant mapping and monitoring are underway.
Excellent so we've got time for maybe one more question um we've got more here in the q & a box than we'll be able to get to so we apologize for those who haven't heard their question live yet.
Is it possible to determine how much water is available in an aquifer and how quickly that might recharge? It is possible and and I'm not a hydrogeologist but we have you know we have ways of looking at transmissivity within the aquifer and uh what based on our our well records our lithologic data, how much water is available whether that is going to be sustainable over the long term and I might ask Dr. Lush to see if he can add on to answering that question when we get into the panel discussion. Great, one more quick question so going back to that map you showed about cool and warm and transient temperature surface water. How much of the warmth is fluctuating because of runoff and what other sort of factors affect the the warmth of those surface waters? Yeah that's a fair question. So, if you think about it you know just take a walk along a river or a stream sometime and you can probably
imagine the types of things that would be impacting temperature. So, what kind of shade cover do we have in the area? Do we have a lot of sealed surface in that location because rainfall precipitation landing on impermeable surfaces parking lots roadways is going to be warmer than water that's just running off the vegetated landscape? How much sediment is in the water is going to impact water temperatures. So, if you have a lot of soil that's soaking up the sunlight that might warm up water temperature. There are a lot of things besides groundwater discharge that that influence the temperature of surface water supplies absolutely
Awesome s,o keeping an eye on time I think unless we hear from the moderators that we've got more wiggle room I think we'll hand it back over to Mary. Thanks Geneva and thanks for all the great questions that you folks have typed in and for Ruth for answering those questions. so now um I'd like to get to our panel I'd like to introduce our panelists So, first up we have Dr. Dave Lush. He's a professor emeritus at Michigan State University Professor Lush retired in 2016 after a 38-year career in the Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Science sciences at Michigan State University. He also held a research appointment in the Institute of Water research at MSU from 1991 to 2016 where he focused primarily on aquifer vulnerability assessments and community groundwater protection planning. Dr. Lush helped pioneer the use of geographic information systems for groundwater mapping and management in Michigan.
Dave co-directed the groundwater inventory and mapping project which won the MDEQ's excellence award in 2005. In 2008 MSU awarded Dr. Lush the prestigious distinguished academic staff award that same year imagine Michigan's professional geospatial organization presented him with the Jim Living Geospatial Achievement Award. From 2014 to 2017 Professor Lusch was the project manager of the Ottawa County water resources study which developed a calibrated process-based flow model for the county. From 2013 to 2019 Dr. Lusch served as an invited member of the water use advisory council and an elected member of its leadership committee. Since 2019 Dave has served as a technical advisor to both the data collection and models committees of that council. Next up we have Jim Milne. Jim is a Water Use Assessment Unit Supervisor in the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy Water Resources Division. Jim has a Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences with the geophysics option from MSU. He has worked for the State of Michigan for 32 years in the departments of Natural Resources Environmental Quality,
Natural Resources and Environment, and EGLE in the first part of his career. He was a project manager project geologist and later a district supervisor in the environmental cleanup programs primarily dealing with leaking underground storage tanks and storage tank system regulations. Later, he moved to the land and water resources programs where he supervised staff in the wetlands, inland lakes, and streams, critical dunes areas high risk erosion, areas great lakes public trust bottomland, and coastal zone management federal consistency programs for about the last 10 years.
Jim has supervised staff in the water use and aquifer dispute resolution programs. And finally on our panel we have Kris Olsson. Kris is a watershed ecologist with Huron River Watershed Council she joined the Huron River Watershed Council in 1992 where she specially specializes in GIS analysis landscape ecology and local land use planning and ordnance development. Kris works with local governments and land protection organizations on promoting land use planning and policies that protect the watershed. She also trains local residents to become involved in their local government planning efforts. Kris earned two Masters of Science degrees at the University of Michigan in resource ecology and natural resource policy.
So, before I get to the questions that I've prepared for the panelists I'd like to invite each panelist to give a little more info about their background on the subject of water quantity. So, Dr. Lusch would you like to go first? Sure thank you, and hello to everybody thanks for hanging in there.
As you heard the majority of my career I spent focusing on aquifer vulnerability assessments and doing outreach with Ruth often on community groundwater protection planning. More recently since my retirement I've been focusing my volunteer efforts with the water use advisory council which is currently making recommendations to the Michigan legislature for targeted funding for various aspects of data collection and data manipulation uses
and that will have hopefully a positive impact on improving the water use assessment program that Jim Milne supervises. So I think that's enough about me. Okay thank you Dave and welcome we appreciate your time today. Mr. Milne would you like to go next. Okay thank you Mary, hello everyone thanks for having me.
As Mary said I'm got a geology degree from MSU my coursework includes hydrogeology, glacial geology in soil science and from Western Michigan course work in hydrogeology, wetland hydrology. The staff in my unit we administer primarily two programs part 317 act for dispute resolution, which I'll talk about during the panel discussion and most of our work involves part 327, which is Michigan statute to manage large quantity alarm withdrawals and also talk about it greater lengths during the panel discussion. We've got two compliance staff who try to bring violations back into compliance with part 327. My geology specialist provides support technical support for the aquifer dispute resolution program. She does our groundwater modeling. We've got another person who compiles all the annual water use statistics for the various water use
in Michigan, compiles that information provides it to regional state and federal agencies. He also does permit reviews for very large capacity withdrawals over two million gallons of paint and is in charge of the care and feeding of the water withdrawal assessment tool on our website.
So, with that I'll pass it on to Kris. Thank you go ahead Kris. Hi I work for the Huron River Watershed Council and we are a non-profit we our mission is to protect and and restore the Huron River and its whole watershed the 63 different local governments within the watershed to help to do that and, also we work with residents and businesses in terms of education. We do volunteer monitoring, we do science, we do policy we do education all around water quality natural areas protection, land use planning watershed planning, Ruth talked a lot about some of this in her talk so non-profit perspective on some of these. Great thanks Kris and we really do appreciate all three of you being here today taking time to to share your skills and knowledge and expertise on water quantity, so I think we put together a great panel for everybody with lots of um different perspectives. So, now um let's get into our panel discussion. I'll be asking a series of questions and then give the panelists an opportunity to answer not all questions will be answered by all panelists. So, let's get going first I'd like to ask what role can local units of government play when it comes to water quantity issues? So who'd like to answer that one?
So, this is Dave Lush I'll take that question. And I don't know if you have the extra graphics there we go. The main thing I want to talk about is a responsibility of local government vis-a-vis water quantity issues is the
effective exercise of their planning and zoning authorities. So, what we want to have are the local officials who are active in planning and zoning be familiar with their own local groundwater resources. So, they really have to do some studying on that. Oftentimes I see that master plans will have an environment section but it will focus on what you can see on the surface of the land, in other words the river, streams, wetlands, and so forth and there'll be little or nothing in that section on groundwater resources and the main function that I want the planning and zoning arm of local government to include in the master plan is an eye toward protecting local recharge areas. If you go back to the slide that Ruth showed in the early part of her talk of the water cycle and then later on showed the three-part cross-section diagram we were emphasizing that water that infiltrates through the soil in the right part of the landscape can percolate deeply to become recharged for the water table aquifer. Now, whether the water table aquifer is the one that you use or not is a different issue. That first graphic showed a screen capture.
There you go thank you showed a screen capture from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation services web soil survey which is an open access data portal allowing anyone to go into a local area of interest. And in fact it has to be a relatively small area there's a size limitation that it won't display more than I forgot what it is ten thousand acres or something, but in this case I'm showing the saturated hydraulic conductivity k sat and what we're looking for are the ratings of soils for whether they essentially perk rapidly or not. That is does water move through the soil column at a high rate or a low rate and there are two components to local recharge mapping.
One is the water has to be able to fairly rapidly get into and move through the soil material. Remember soil maps are representative of the upper two meters of the earth's
material. So, in this case we're we're focusing on essentially the blue areas of the map of being moderately high high and very high saturated hydraulic conductivities. Now if you go to the next slide please thank you.
This is a local water table map the big red box on the left is the whole of Eaton County in my part of the world and it's showing the water table elevation and as you can see the groundwater is discharging to the local rivers. The Thornapple is the biggest one in this map and around it you see the brown
areas the little islands if you will and those are essentially hilltops on the water table surface. If those are sitting coincident in the landscape with high hydraulic conductivity of soils then they will serve as a local master recharge area. So, that would be the first function of the planning and zoning authority in the local area is to learn about their groundwater resources. Here are the two factors that they would need to have. We will have toolkit links sometime later in the webinar presentations that will be sent out to you and they will include where you could access some of this information if you don't already have it. Once these master recharge areas are discovered then you need to compare them with your zoning map to see whether you are promoting or not the large-scale provision for open space land uses. Be it wood lots, agriculture, open green space of any kind. What we don't want is a lot of urbanization with sealed surfaces over these master recharge areas. So, let me stop there all right. Thank you Dr. Lush we appreciate that. So, our second question is are we experiencing water quantity conflicts between large quantity withdrawals and residential wells in Michigan and are there other water use conflicts, and if so what processes are being used to address them? This is Jim now I'll respond to that question. It's a two-part response. The first part dealing with high-capacity wells is Ruth talked about in her presentation. A high capacity well is anything over 100 000 gallons per day averaged over any 30 day period which equates to a pump capacity of 70 gallons a minute or more. Whereas, your typical private well as we said the pumping rate for a private oil is more like 10 to 20 gallons a minute. So, the part 317 oxford dispute resolution program provides a remedy for cases where a private well is impacted by the pumping of a high capacity well, either in terms of water quality or water quantity. Most frequent type of complaint is somebody private well is going dry and they think it's because of a high capacity well operating in the area. So, the first thing that needs to be done is as soon as EGLE or MDARD Agriculture and Rural Development for agricultural high capacity wells. As soon as we get one of these complaints we have the private well owner needs to get a license well driller out to inspect their well to rule out any other cause for the problem, and then we start investigating. It may be as simple a matter of lowering the pump deeper in the well, or it might involve replacing the well.
There is the oxford dispute resolution process we identify who the high capacity well owner is and if we feel that they are in fact likely responsible both EGLE and MDARD have the authority to step in and declare a groundwater dispute order private
temporary water supply to be provided replacing an impacted well may order the high capacity well to either scale back their pumping or stop pumping altogether to alleviate the problem.
Those are the remedies that are available the track record for resolving complaints so far has been pretty good. We haven't had a case yet where the director of EGLE or the director of MDARD has had to declare the groundwater dispute because the high capacity well owner has stepped up and resolved the issue. That being said there are some limitations in the existing statutory language, there's an exemption for dewatering wells.
So if that's a quarry or a gravel pit dewatering operation or construction dewatering those are exempt from this program and in that case the only option available to the private well owner is to pursue civil litigation. So, this this program was basically designed to provide a remedy to allow people to resolve these conflicts and stay out of court.
Now the second part of the question competing water uses one of the questions was asked from the presentation is a perfect lead-in to this topic about concerns about diversions of water outside the Great Lake basin and that's the reason why the Great Lakes Compact was developed. Great Lakes Compact is a compact of the eight U.S. Great Lakes basin states with a parallel international agreement with the provinces of Ontario and Quebec that prohibits with certain exemptions
diversions of water outside the Great Lake basin.
And in order to survive a challenge to that each member state and province is expected to manage its own internal water resources. Both surface water and groundwater are viewed as interconnected parts of one single hydrologic system. And in Michigan the statute to implement the great lakes compact is part 327. So, what we do if there is a water withdrawal assessment online large withdrawal assessment tool screening tool it makes some very conservative assumptions that every groundwater everywhere in the state is connected to streamflow and it's got three models running behind the scenes. The first predicts based on the existing stream stream gage network in the state what are the index flows everywhere in streams everywhere in the state. The index flow being the 50 low flow during the lowest flow summer months typically August and September. So, fifty percent of the time the stream flows above fifty percent is below that value.
Another model is the for groundwater models to predict if you're pumping well how much stream flow depletion is going to be caused by pumping that well. It looks like things like how deep is the top of the well screen for the ground surface, and what is how far away is it from the stream, and what is the pumping schedule that makes some predictions. And then the third model relates impacts to fish characteristic fish populations in the streams to decreases in the stream flow. So, based on that it makes a prediction about whether the withdrawal can be authorized or not. If it doesn't pass then my staff do what's called a site-specific review, which is where we review all the available information about the surface water and groundwater make a conclusion about can we authorize it or do we agree with the tool. That is likely to cause never three resources impact in which case the wood drop cannot be authorized as proposed. Then we try to work with the property owner applicant to see can they modify their proposal to see if they can operate their withdrawal and avoid causing any adverse impact. Maybe move the well deep in the well change your pumping schedule something along those lines. Thank you this the screen there is the stream temperature classification in the state. We're just talking about this a little bit in the red being the warm streams the blue cold the teal being cold transitional the green being the cool streams based on the water temperature and the amount of stream flow depletion that's allowed to be taken out for other high capacity uses varies depending on the stream temperature. So, the most restrictive is the cold transitional that only allows four percent of that flow to be depleted versus all the way up to a warm stream would be 24 percent
allowable for use. We cumulatively track the streamflow depletions on the sub-watershed level.
You can think of that like a checkbook balance so maintaining keeping track of all the withdrawals and their depletions as withdrawals expire or water abandoned water is credited back.
There are provisions in the statute for trying to resolve conflicts by competing water uses depending on the watershed you may have agriculture, irrigation, private wells municipal wells, industrial water, uses all trying to compete for the same water resources along with the underlying concept that we need to protect stream flow for the aquatic resources. So, there are there's a provision in there for a water user committee that's where the water users on the local watershed can get together and try to manage the use on the local level and we'll talk about that a little bit further later.
On the next slide Ruth show this earlier too I want to point out the middle cross section there where a well is put in and is starting to intercept a portion of the stream, the groundwater that would otherwise discharge to the stream. So, on the left side of that red dash groundwater divide that's all water that is going groundwater is being intercepted by the well.
So, the groundwater stream flow on the right going to the stream is reduced because of only a portion of that is still going to the stream. And if you pump the well long enough like the bottom cross section you're actually inducing direct recharge from the stream into the groundwater and thereby reducing the stream flow.
So, with that I think we're ready to move on to the next question.
Great thanks Jim. So, the next question for our panelists is how can local decision makers best prepare for potential water quantity conflicts? Kris do you want to start us off here?
Yeah so I'm going to talk about how we can prepare for these conflicts in the best way that I know is to kind of prevent the overuse in the first place and the way we do that is by working with local communities on that. So, if you could put up that first slide. So, we've been doing what we call green infrastructure natural area network mapping and we started doing this after Oakland County started doing this, and the idea is you want to know where those natural groundwater recharge areas are that Dr. Lush talked about. Generally they're going to be in those natural areas that have a diversity of habitat and they have some topography and they're performing natural ecosystem services like infiltrating water, and performing the water cycle right that Ruth talked about earlier,
and keeping the streams clean with groundwater recharge, and all of the other ecosystem functions that we've talked about. So the idea of green infrastructure is that we're familiar with human-built infrastructure like roads and things like that where roads utilities. So, this is the green infrastructure that has its own network that is providing these services to us for free. So, with each community in the watershed what we do well we haven't done it with all of them yet, but we get together on a township by township level and we look at what those natural areas. If you could just click the forward button and we get folks like board members, planning commission members, residents, land conservancy stakeholders in that community draw on an aerial photo where they .First, of all we start with our own natural area map and then folks who are local to the community draw on that and they create a network of these larger hubs of woodlands, and wetland,s and grasslands. Smaller sites that are still providing these ecosystem services but maybe they're you know they aren't as big and then we link them together often through streams and wetlands. If you could click that again, and so the community has that sort of map and the question is well what do you do once you know where your green infrastructure is? And what we are working with communities to do is
put into their zoning and master plans this map and then talk about how they can protect those natural areas as they're you know doing their other land use planning. So, uh most land use planners board members and commissioners are familiar with the idea of setbacks right? You want to have homes set back from roads and step back from each other.
So, why can't we have setbacks and zoning requirements that avoid these natural areas so that we prevent having a scarcity of the groundwater and surface water for that matter.
So, we're working with communities to enact these kinds of things to have natural areas protection in their zoning and planning. Have an overlay zoning area. So, whatever it might be zoned for in terms of density right single family residential versus agriculture versus commercial if it is an overlay of a kind of natural feature or green infrastructure that you know. You want protected you overlay that so that as you're doing your planning you have that in mind having buffers. So, buffering those surface water areas so they can help infiltrate water and treat polluted water. Having green storm water infrastructure so that when you do your building you can mimic the natural green infrastructure with built green infrastructure and help infiltrate water that runs off of parking lots. Having a wetland ordinance so you're protecting those most important of natural features, those wetlands. Green infrastructure planning so planning recreation around where these green infrastructure areas are, and then having that in your master planning. So, you're overall guiding that development to where you have more of the gray infrastructure to handle that development and you're keeping development as as far as you can away from that green infrastructure,
and just quickly mention that one of the things we recommend communities have is a conservation program where they're funding in some way land protection within their community and so we've developed a conservation millage toolkit for communities to get a to get a preservation program into their local community. If you can go to the next slide
So yeah so my our answer is that we want to prevent those those quantity conflicts before they occur.
Thank you Kris, and Dave did you want to answer this question as well?
Yeah I just want to piggyback on on the recommendations that Kris just gave you. Previously I talked about protecting recharging areas that's essentially part of this green infrastructure mapping.
In case of the green areas on this map you would overlay that with with the water table surface and look for the high spots on the water table surface that are also green land covers presently and that have high infiltrating soils and make sure that you've got some kind of conservation program in place for those master recharge areas. That's on the input side. On the output side however planning and zoning is also effective and I
just want to focus on one of a myriad of possible activities through the zoning master plan and zoning and that would be to once you know your groundwater resources of the local area take a look at what your master plan and zoning map have planned for in those master recharge areas, and avoid having a large area high density self-supplied residential development frankly anywhere in your residential sector of the map. The keywords there are self-supplied. So suppose you you had planned for a development to have 60 structures 60 homes in a relatively small area but all of those homes are going to have 15 to 20 gallon a minute pumps put into their wells and most residential users are on the same clock.
So, they all wake up at relatively the same time in the morning they're all trying to shower and have coffee at roughly the same time of day the laundries may be done at the same time of day. So, the cumulative impact in the local area of that 60 home development could be as much as 1200 gallon a minute, which is a very very large large quantity withdrawal, and overlapping capture zones. So, you're sort of setting yourself up for the possibility of uh want to use conflicts both among and between the residents of such a development, as well as lowering the water table in that part of your jurisdiction.
Great thank you definitely some great things for us to consider especially at the local planning and zoning.
Is it okay if I ask Dave a question?
This is Kris. Sure go ahead. Dr. Lush if I was wondering if do you are there map are there ways a community can map these high water tables these areas of groundwater recharge so that they can include it in their master plan and maybe create an overlay zone around those two so they don't don't build in those areas?
Yes, the water table map I showed you the example of for Eaton County
is a local extract from a statewide GIS file that I created a number of years ago well actually back in 05, so I'm getting older by the minute. And that should be available on the State of Michigan GIS portal. At least I had it there at one time and I know with your capabilities you could assist any unit of government that you deal with in the Huron to utilize the shape files and and get it whipped into shape.
If not you know we always have these lowers physical overlay approaches for communities that are not well supported with GIS technology. Thank you. All right thank you so next I want to turn our attention to um climate change and we did hear Ruth earlier talk about how there's an altering that's happening with climate change and the frequency of storms and droughts. So, I'm wondering what issues arise because of this and what can local governments do to help mitigate their circumstances?
I can address that if you want to go to the next slide that we had a preview of. So, I saw that Ruth already went over some of the some of these figures so we won't dwell on them, but so given that we have these issues of more frequent high energy storms and those heavy storms are getting heavier. What is it that local governments can do to mitigate this? Well one thing is and to me it's just kind of a if you can say this win-win is that having those green infrastructure features mapped and making sure that you're getting your community to be resilient to those heavier storms I mean is as much as you can buffer around the streams and as little impervious surface that you can create then you're going to be more resilient when those heavy storms happen. When that flooding happens and even when and we're going to also see more drought and gonna see warmer temperatures. So, anything we can do to to make use of of those natural areas you know the better for each community. And then the other thing which isn't so much my my expertise but uh the watershed council's is working with engineers, stormwater managers,
township, and city utilities to update you know our mappings and update our calculations for you know how how you manage stormwater infrastructure needs to change because it's because the typical way to do it is looking look at the last 50 or 100 years of you know what's your biggest storm excuse me and what's your biggest storm is changing. So, they need to change those calculations so that we're able to to take in that extra flood water so it doesn't cause flooding. And I'll give you an example of where we really need to see this is regarding the dams and I think everyone's heard about dams that collapsed in Michigan a month or so ago.
So, dams are very vulnerable to climate change because as a general approximation dams are built to withstand about a 200-year storm. So, a pretty pretty big pretty big storm right?
So, we can expect these big giant storms so we're going to be seeing bigger storms more frequently so we're these dams are vulnerable to those um they're going to become four times more frequent in the near future and so they
could become 25 times more frequent by 2100. So, storm that blow Edenville and Stanford dams was a 500 year storm and so that's gonna happen more often and, so we really need to look at our damn infrastructure and and the way we manage water you know overall and so really using whenever we can using natural infrastructure. And planning where we're putting our development uh in a more compact way so that we're not using up so much land and using up so much of the working lands too which is another another issue.
And so the other thing I would really like to see communities do and we're seeing a lot of communities do this now is we're talking about adapting to the climate that's coming. We also need to act to do what we can to
stop it from getting worse. So, a lot of the climate change we're gonna see is baked in right no matter what we do we're seeing the climate change even now it's only going to get worse uif we don't something about it. We see a lot of communities developing climate action plans climate resiliency and action plans so I think they go hand in hand if you look to the city of Ann Arbor they have one scio township and Ann Arbor Township are working on some now so it's not just the urban cities that are doing it but the more rural areas are too.
And then one more thought is in you know like I said the wetlands are are kind of the superstars in this they actually sequester carbon so even on the other side of it the idea that we need to preserve more wetlands and forests and because not only are they going to make us resilient more resilient from climate change but they're also going to help mitigate future greenhouse gas emissions.
Great thank you Kris. Next we want to know how might a community address water use limitations due to declining static water levels and or water quality issues for example in Ottawa County?
Okay I can this is Jim Milne I can take part of the question. Part 327 the way the state statute is written regulating large quantity water withdrawals is left to the state.
There's a specific prohibition against having local ordinances regulate high-capacity wells that doesn't apply to local health department regulations. So, depending on where you are in the state some local health departments do require their permits for irrigation wells others do not. Part 327 I mentioned before does provide for Water User Committees. That's basically a shortcut to try to provide an alternative route to civil litigation. Property owners do have common law rights to reasonable use of water on their property.
So, if you're late to the party coming to a depleted watershed and you want to start irrigating and the state tells you no you could still go to court and try to sue to be able to use your water rights, but the Water User Committee concept was developed to provide basically a way for all the water users to get together and try stay out of court try to manage the water use on the local level. It also provides for locally as a government to convene an ad hoc citizen education committee to advise those Water User Committees. So, local units government can bring in the health departments local conservation groups area residents to advise the high-capacity water users to make sure that they still have a seat at the table.
Okay great. I can jump in on that this is Dave Lush also and I want to focus again on planning and zoning efforts, but this time at a broader scale at a county or a watershed area. Sort of the stuff that Kris Olsson was talking about just a little while ago and if you haven't caught on yet the whole concept of groundwater management is one of broad area management, which almost always in Michigan means multi-jurisdictional management. Which is probably the most challenging planning environment that we have because not all local units of government you know have learned to work well together. Nonetheless the concept of I'm going to protect my ground water and the heck with the rest of you doesn't really work because most of us are receiving our recharge from areas beyond those landscape facets that we have jurisdiction over and we are using groundwater uh in our local area that would have gone to some other jurisdiction. In other words we're all in one big groundwater boat and we have to learn about our local groundwater resources learn who our partner jurisdictions are and then learn to to do conservation planning.
There was a question in the chat room I think that came up something about are we in the Great Lakes insulated from the problems that we see in the water stressed areas of the American west,
and while the over our arching answer is yes. The the actual example is that even in this relatively abundant groundwater arena of the Great Lakes basin it is still a finite resource and as Ruth showed in her presentation not everybody has dealt in equal hand in terms of what their local groundwater resources are in terms of availability. So, just think about the multi-jurisdictional planning and zoning activities again at a county or watershed area basis vis-a-vis water demand management. This would include things like water pricing structures for our public water supplies that do not give you a break for using more water, but rather do the opposite give you a break for conserving the use of your water. This is backwards from what had been the standard the more you use the cheaper it became. Well that's an incentive we don't want to continue. Secondly, since the early 90's we have had building codes that have required water saving devices low flow fixtures and water efficient appliances, but a lot of our housing stock was built way before that.
So, we need to get after both making sure our building departments are sensitized to inspecting for low flow fixtures, doing promotions with our big box stores and others about promoting water efficient appliances, educating households and businesses about the water resources of our area, and the water conservation strategies we might use to protect it, and limiting by ordinance if necessary outdoor water use if we really get into a declining water level area as we have seen in in at least central Ottawa County.
So, for instance if you have odd even day watering schedules for your lawns that can be greatly helpful. Requiring all homes built before 1993 to have low flow fixtures you could capture that at time of sale for instance and make that a overlay requirement,
and then make sure that building permits for all new construction are requiring low flow fixtures. And there's quite a number of other water demand management strategies that are highlighted in materials that I'll be available to you in the toolbox I mentioned earlier.
Great thank you so we have just a few minutes left for the panel discussion, so I'm gonna take us to our final question which is actually revisiting the question that Ruth had in her presentation and is that that that question is are our groundwater management practices sustainable?
Kris do you want to go first?
I just muted myself well that would be a question that I also had because in our watershed you guys have been talking about some of the larger water quantity withdrawal water withdrawals from groundwater in our watershed it's more of the cumulative issue. So, I don't think
we have a lot of large water quality withdrawals at least you know like a Nestle kind of thing but we have a lot of residential wells we have a lot of type 2 wells we have some municipal wells. So,
I was really interested when Dr. Lush was talking about well if you had a 60 home development and they were all using the water around the same time
they're going to be together forming a large water withdrawal. So, that really picked up my ears because that's the kind of development that we um we see in our watershed when when it happens and and so I am concerned about that and so I'd love to look into it more but I don't have the answer to that question. Oh that's okay I appreciate your insight in that and how it might be impacting you locally there on the Huron River. Right. Jim did you have any responses? So are our groundwater management practices sustainable?
A good news bad news answer depends on where you are in the state from my perspective and this kind of gets to one of the earlier questions in the chat after the presentation somebody asked about something along the lines of do we have a handle on the volume of groundwater and aquifers.
Well there are areas in Michigan that are pretty well studied. One example would be the tri-county area right here around Lansing where U.S. Geological Survey developed a groundwater model other areas where Michigan geological survey based out of western Michigan has completed mapping the glacial geology in three dimensions. Where we've got a pretty good idea where the aquifers are and what their spatial limits are so we can start doing some rough estimates combining that with information from the well logs on file,
try to get some reasonable estimates about what is the volume and then comparing that to the use and start to make some judgments about is it sustainable or not. However, much of the state is poorly mapped in terms of understanding the geology in three dimensions. So, right now we really don't have a good idea whether our current groundwater management practices are sustainable.
the water use advisory stakeholder group that was codified under prior 320s 328
protection. That's a multi-user state stakeholder group with pretty -broad representation we've got ag, ag industry, local governments, environmental groups, water conservation groups, watershed groups universities, state federal agencies all on that group to advise the state agencies.
They're currently drafting a series of recommendations to Michigan's legislature that will partly address some of these data gaps and Dave Lush has had a hand in drafting some of those recommendations so Dave I don't know if you want to add anything.
I think for the purposes of time conservation here I won't belabor them but you're correct the Water Use Advisory Council is just now getting ready to issue a report that will be delivered to the legislature in December our uh our meeting is coming up soon this month I think on the 20th where we'll be discussing that. So, we are making some strides to try to convince the legislature to invest in scientific understanding of our groundwater resources, but as you know with COVID this is a bad year to be asking for money for anything except public health. So, I don't know what the chances of that are but we'll bring it back again in all subsequent years until we make some progress. This is Jim Milne again before we go I do want to put a plug in for the water use advisory council meetings. Dave mentioned the next one that's coming up is October 20th from one to four those meetings are open to the public due to covid we're holding those virtually through Microsoft teams but you can go to our water use webpage michigan.gov/wateruse and there's a link on there to the Water Use Advisory Council so that will have links to the meeting. So, the public is welcome to participate in those meetings there are specific spots on the agenda for the public to provide comments first off on anything that's on the agenda for the meeting which is posted and then later on in the meeting.
they have the opportunity to make comments on any other issues that they want to. So, thank you Jim we'll also be sending out a link to that the October 20th meeting when we follow up next week with the the webinar recording so that's really great we do have just maybe one or two minutes for a question. So Geneva do you have any burning questions or maybe some that that multiple people have asked? Let's see we do still have a lot of questions and I'm trying to see if there's any that I can kind of batch. We have one person wondering are local health departments represented on the Water Advisory Council?
This is Dave Lush they are not one of the statutorily described stakeholder groups but we do have participation from EGLEstaff and many of them are either former local public health officials who now serve in state government or they work with local health departments.
So, it it's primarily an artifact of the fact that we're not dealing with the regulation of water wells per se which is a component of environmental health divisions of local health departments, but rather the impact of groundwater use on surface water. So, the short answer is no they are not directly represented. And this is Jim Milne again, Dave is correct we do have a representative on the council Tom Frazier from the Michigan townships association representing local units of government. If we drinking water division local health departments are certainly welcome to participate if we know that there are specific issues we can certainly make arrangements to have somebody there to participate.
Great. Here's another one if somebody has a a complaint or an observation or something about water withdrawals maybe something that they've seen near a river or in their area is there a way that they can submit that to EGLE or MDARD so it can be investigated?
This is Jim Milne again um yeah have them contact me will provide my contact information and I
can put you if I know where if you send me the specifics in your complaint and let me know where you notice the problem I can refer you to the appropriate district office staff.
Great this is maybe more a question for Mary about upcoming sessions in the Water School. Somebody is wondering about how communities can address potential flood impacts and I guess we'll leave it up to the panel to say if they've got any input on this here or Mary is there another session in the Water School that will be addressing things more like flooding?
So, I'll go ahead and take that we do have three additional sessions coming up mostly one on water quantity one on water policy and one on water economics and planning. We will touch on the subject of flooding in the the planning one as well as the policy one so those will be ones you can tune into. That's actually a great segue because we are running out of time um so before I go I do want to say thank you again to Geneva, Dave, Jim Kris, all of the participants as well as Ruth for the presentation earlier. I also wanted to acknowledge and recognize the financial funding that we've received from the ERB Family Foundation and the Pure Oakland water group and I wanted to thank the entire Michigan water school team who helped work over the last six years to develop the program and the technical expertise from those.
And then also those that are on the Michigan Water School Statewide Advisory Council that assisted us with putting together the webinar series. We're only hearing from a small portion of those folks who are behind the scenes making everything happen so I do want to thank them these webinars would not be possible without all of their contributions. Here are the dates for the upcoming webinars that we have just a reminder registration is going to remain open until the final webinar on November 19th. So, if you join today's webinar without registering, maybe somebody shared the url with you or that's perfectly fine we just ask that you go back in and register so that you can receive all of the webinar communications that we're going to be sending out.
So, with that in mind look for a follow-up email from us in about a week and that will include a link to today's webinar recording ,the groundwater model video that Ruth mentioned earlier,
some additional water quantity resources, and answers to any of the questions that we weren't able to get to during today's webinar. We'll also send out some of the things that were shared today like Ruth mentioned the link for the wellhead protection areas maps
the water trail maps that were mentioned that October 20th meeting of the water use advisory council along with Jim's contact information so
again thank you all for joining us I hope that you enjoyed today's webinar and we hope that you tune in for our next webinar thank you.