Here is a bill, From Assemblyman Sweeney, the Chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, that addresses the issue of developing a more stringent process for permitting the withdrawal of water from surface water bodies. Currently, only those surface water bodies that are in a special district (examples: Chesapeake Bay watershed, NYC drinking water reservoirs, or Skaneatales Lake/City of Syracuse drinking water reservoir) have any restrictions on withdrawing water in amounts less than 100,000 gallons. This bill would require permits for the extraction of more than 50,000 gallons. Enviromental precautions would be considered in the issuance of permits, and permits for the removal of more than 100,000 gallons per day would require paying fees. The fee revenue would accrue to the Environmental Protection Fund.
A8806 sets up a framework for charging for the extraction of water.
Here is the bill info and sponsor’s memo reproduced:
BILL NO A08806
SAME AS No same as
COSPNSR Jaffee, Stirpe, Weisenberg, Reilly, Colton, Koon, Lupardo, Schimel,
MLTSPNSR Fields, Glick, O’Donnell
Amd S15-3301, add S15-3303, En Con L
Relates to the implementation of water withdrawal permits.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in
relation to water withdrawal reporting and water withdrawal permits
PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to establish a water permitting
process to allow the Department of Environmental Conservation to better
regulate the use of the State’s water resources.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 amends S15-3301 of the Environmental
Conservation Law to decrease the quantity, from one hundred thousand
gallons to fifty thousand gallons, at which a person withdrawing ground-
water or surface-water is required to file a report with the Department
of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
Section two establishes the criteria and cost of the water withdrawal
permits and clarifies the type of withdrawals that would not be subject
* Beginning September 1, 2010, no person or entity shall undertake any
new action to withdraw, or contribute to the withdrawal, of more than
100,000 gallons of water without having first obtained a water with-
drawal permit from DEC.
* Beginning September 1, 2013 no person or entity shall withdraw, or
contribute to the withdrawal, of more than 100,000 gallons of water
without having first obtained a water withdrawal permit from the DEC.
* Permits would be valid for five years from the date of issuance, and
will cost the following:
o $1,000 for withdrawals of 100,000 or more gallons a day
o $2,000 for withdrawals of 250,000 or more gallons a day
o $3,000 for withdrawals of 500,000 or more gallons a day
o $4,000 for withdrawals of 750,000 or more gallons a day
o $5,000 for withdrawals of 1,000,000 or more gallons a day
* Withdrawals, including fire and emergency response, domestic residen-
tial use, agricultural withdrawals, geothermal heat pumps and reclaimed
wastewater would be exempt
* Permit applications shall only be approved by DEC if they meet certain
criteria, including consideration of natural resources impact, existing
users, water quality and consistency with water conservation goals.
Section three of the bill directs DEC to adopt rules and regulations
that establish water use standards for maintaining in-stream flows that
protect aquatic life, and identify water sheds at risk from cumulative
use. Section four contains the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Every New Yorker has the right to safe, clean, suffi-
cient and affordable water and the State has an obligation to protect
its ground and surface water resources for the long-term benefit of its
people. In addition, the State needs to ensure that adequate water flows
and levels to protect fish, wildlife and other natural resources are
maintained, safeguard and enhance opportunities for recreational use,
and protect existing private water users dependent upon surface water
In establishing the permitting process contained in the bill, the Legis-
lature is granting the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
the authority to regulate water uses so that the agency can adequately
prepare for future impacts and protect valuable water resources. As
water resources worldwide become increasingly scarce, water management
planning becomes even more important. At least 27 other states have
water withdrawal laws, including many of New York’s neighbors. This
legislation would provide additional information and oversight to help
ensure that the Department of Environmental Conservation has the tools
needed to manage this precious resource.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is new legislation.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined. This legislation will result in
an increase in revenue to the Environmental Protection Fund.