WFBF applauds passage of high capacity well bill

Wisconsin State Farmer
Jim Holte

MADISON – The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation applauds the Wisconsin State Assembly’s passage of a bill that provides certainty to farmers with existing high capacity wells on their farms.

Senate Bill 76 was approved by a 62 to 35 vote on May 2. The bill specifically addresses replacement, reconstruction and transfer of ownership of existing high capacity well permits.

“It is important for farmers with high capacity wells to have financial and regulatory certainty,” WFBF President Jim Holte said. “They need to know they will be able to water their livestock and irrigate their crops as previously approved by the DNR.”

The bill also clarifies state law by directing Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources to restore certainty to previously issued high capacity well permits. SB 76 states that no additional approval is needed for an existing high capacity well to repair or maintain the well, to construct a replacement high capacity well of substantially the same depth within a 75-foot radius of the existing high capacity well, to reconstruct the existing high capacity well, or to transfer the approval of a high capacity well as part of the sale of land where the well is located. The bill also requires DNR to study the hydrology of specific water bodies in Wisconsin’s Central Sands and report those findings to the Legislature.

“It should be noted that no new water withdrawals are being approved under this bill; but rather, existing wells are either being repaired for continued use, replaced for continued use or being owned by a different person for the same use,” Holte said.