In the post below, the bill introduced by Assembly Member Sweeney is considered.  It does not have a “same as” bill in the Senate, but, Senator Thompson, the Chair of the Senate’s Environmental Conservation Committee, has introduced a bill on the same subject.  The summary, actions and sponsor’s memo is reproduced below; the full text can be read at S6335.

S6335 Summary

Relates to the regulation of the use of the state’s water resources; requires permits for interbasin diversions of water and approval of modification to existing systems; increases fees for water supply permits. Relates to the regulation of the use of the state’s water resources; requires permits for interbasin diversions of water and approval of modification to existing systems; increases fees for water supply permits.

Act: AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to regulating the use of the state’s water resources; and to repeal title 33 of article 15 of such law relating to water withdrawal reporting

S6335 Actions





S6335 Memo



An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to
regulating the use of the state’s water resources; and to repeal title
33 of article 15 of such law relating to water withdrawal reporting


The purpose of this bill is to authorize the Department of
Environmental Conservation (DEC) to implement a water withdrawal
permitting program to regulate the use of the State’s water resources.


Section 1 of the bill would amend Environmental Conservation Law (ECL)

? 15-1501 to simplify the existing water supply permit program and to
expand the program to address most significant water uses. More
specifically, ECL ? 15-1501 would be amended to: (1) require that,
once DEC promulgates regulations, all persons that operate or propose
to operate a water withdrawal system with a capacity equal to or
greater than the “threshold volume” of 100,000 gallons per day (gpd)
obtain a permit from DEC; (2) confirm that a supplier of public water
may not install or construct a public water supply system until it has
received approval from DEC; (3) require DEC to promulgate rules and
regulations to implement a permitting program for water withdrawals
equaling or exceeding the threshold volume; (4) authorize DEC to
consolidate existing public water supply permits for administrative
efficiency; and (5) exempt certain withdrawals from permitting

Section 2 of the bill would amend ECL ? 15-1502 to add definitions for
the following terms which the bill would add to Title 15 of Article 15
of the ECL (Title 15): “compact basin commission,” “interbasin
diversion,” “person,” “potable,” “public water supply system,”
“threshold volume,” “water conservation practices and measures,”
“water withdrawal system” and “withdrawal.”

Section 3 of the bill would amend ECL ? 15-1503 to: (1) make
conforming amendments necessitated by other amendments to Title 15
made by the bill; (2) clarify the information that must be provided
with a permit application; (3) require that, in making its permit
decisions, DEC will determine whether a proposed withdrawal takes into
consideration other sources of supply that are or may become
available, will be adequate for the proposed use, may result in
significant adverse impacts to proximate municipalities, cannot
reasonably be avoided through efficient use and conservation of
existing water supplies, and will be implemented in a manner that
ensures it will result in no significant adverse impacts, incorporates
water conservation practices and measures, and is consistent with
applicable municipal, state and federal laws and regional and
international agreements; and (4) provide that a new permit for a
water withdrawal system and a permit renewal will be valid for a
period not to exceed ten years.

Section 4 of the bill would amend ECL ? 15-1505 to: (1) provide that
no person may make a new or increased interbasin diversion of water
which results in a diversion in excess of one million gpd until the
person has registered such diversion with DEC; (2) provide that no
later than one year from the bill’s effective date, all existing
diversions in excess of one million gpd must be registered with DEC;
(3) provide that no person shall be authorized to make a new or
increased interbasin diversion which results in a significant adverse
impact to the water quantity of the source subregional drainage basin;
and (4) authorize DEC to assess an annual registration fee of $200 for
all persons required to register an interbasin transfer.

Section 5 of the bill would amend ECL ? 15-1521 to make conforming
amendments necessitated by other amendments to Title 15 made by the

Section 6 of the bill would amend ECL ? 15-1529 to provide that, in
lieu of DEC inspection and approval, the construction of any water
withdrawal system will be supervised by a licensed professional
engineer that will certify to DEC and the owner that the system has
been fully completed in accordance with the approved engineering
report, plans and specifications, and the permit.

Section 7 of the bill would add a new ECL ? 15-1531 to require the
Commissioner of Environmental Conservation (Commissioner) to report to
the Governor and the Legislature, within two years and thereafter as
the Commissioner deems appropriate, on the implementation of Title 15;
including on the need to modify the threshold volume for particular
water sources, watersheds, water bodies or regions, where DEC has
determined that special protection is necessary.

Section 8 of the bill would repeal, effective December 31, 2012, Title
33 of ECL Article 15 (Title 33), which was added by Chapter 59 of the
Laws of 2009 to enable the State to gain information about large water
withdrawals, given that the information collected pursuant to Title 33
will be incorporated into the permitting requirements of Title 15 as
amended by this bill.

Section 9 of the bill would amend ECL ? 71-1127 to increase the
maximum civil penalty for violations of ECL Article 15 from $500 to
$2,500 per violation and from $100 to $500 for each day during which
such violation continues.

Section 10 of the bill would amend ECL Article 72 to add a new Title 8
to establish an annual fee structure for persons required to obtain a
permit pursuant to the revised water supply permit program.

Section 11 of the bill would provide for an immediate effective date,
except that Section 8 of the bill, which would repeal Title 33 of ECL
Article 15, would take effect on December 31, 2012.


ECL Article 15 sets forth New York’s water resources program. Title 15
sets forth the provisions related to regulating water supply. ECL ?
15-1501 requires public water suppliers to obtain a permit from DEC.
ECL ? 15-1502 provides the definitions applicable to Title 15. ECL ?
15-1503 sets forth the criteria applicable to DEC’s decision to grant
or deny a permit. ECL ? 15-1505 requires a permit for supplying water
to other states. ECL ? 15-1521 authorizes DEC to require that an
applicant for a water supply permit make provisions for and supply
water to other areas of the state if such areas should be supplied by
the water source sought by the applicant. ECL ? 15-1529 requires DEC
approval of completed construction before a project may be operated.
ECL ? 71-1127 establishes the maximum civil penalty for any person who
violates the provisions of ECL Article 1.5 or any rule, regulation,
order or permit issued thereunder. ECL Article 72 establishes various
environmental regulatory program fees.


This is a new proposal.

New York State is fortunate to have plentiful water resources. The
preservation and protection of these resources is vital to New York’s
residents and businesses, who rely on these resources for drinking
water supplies, and to support agriculture, manufacturing and other
industries and recreation in the State. Aquatic and terrestrial flora
and fauna are also dependent on these critical resources to maintain
healthy populations. Good policy and sound natural resource management
practices are critical to assuring long-term supplies of water to meet
such needs.

Pursuant to the ECL, DEC has been entrusted with the responsibility to
conserve and control New York State’s water resources for the benefit
of all the inhabitants of the State. However, the water supply
provisions of Title 15 derive primarily from statutes written in the
first half of last century, and therefore are outdated. Under the
provisions of Title 15, DEC generally only has authority to regulate
public water supplies to ensure adequate quantities of potable water.
As a result, consumptive uses of water for agricultural, commercial
and industrial consumptive uses remain largely unregulated.

Moreover, since the provisions of Article 15 were enacted, population
growth, pressures to keep water instream for fisheries and the
environment, and increased use of water for commercial, industrial and
other purposes have resulted in substantially increased demands on the
State’s water resources. In addition, potential impacts from climate
change, and proposals to export vast amounts of water from New York to
other states and abroad could pose new threats to the State’s water
supply. These issues have served to highlight the limitations on the
State’s water resources program and DEC’s limited ability to regulate
water withdrawals for many purposes. In contrast, neighboring states
of Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts all have
programs that regulate industrial, commercial and agricultural water

Another important recent development is enactment of the Great
Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (Compact)
which includes a number of provisions to preserve and protect the
water resources of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin (Great
Lakes Basin). The Great Lakes Basin is home to 20 percent of New
York’s population and covers approximately 50 percent of New York
State by area. A key provision of the bill requires that New York
regulate all water withdrawals occurring in the New York portion of
the Great Lakes Basin. Once the provisions of the Compact are fully
implemented in New York, a significant portion of the State’s water
resources will be protected.

These developments, and the potential adverse effects of climate
change, support the need to implement more effective measures proposed
by this bill to protect and conserve New York’s water resources.

In addition, this bill, by authorizing DEC to implement a statewide
permitting program for all water withdrawals of equal or greater than
100,000 gpd, would allow New York to meet one if its significant
responsibilities under the Compact: implementation of a regulatory
program for water withdrawals in the Great Lakes Basin. Further, this
bill would result in a strengthening of the water conservation
elements of the current permitting program and encourage water reuse,
consistent with the Compact and sound resource management.

Finally, by focusing DEC’s jurisdiction on significant withdrawals
which exceed 100,000 gpd, DEC would no longer be required to issue
permits for smaller public water supplies. This change would allow DEC
to focus its attention on large withdrawals that have the potential to
have significant impact on the quantity and quality of the State’s
water resources, while relieving smaller communities of the regulatory
burden of obtaining a permit from DEC. Although small public water
supplies will be exempt from DEC’s permitting process, the New York
State Department of Health will continue to regulate these smaller
withdrawals to ensure their adequacy and the protection of public


This bill is not expected to have an impact on the State or
localities, as the State and localities are excluded from the bill’s
fee provisions.

This bill would take effect immediately; provided, however, that
Section 8 would take effect December 31, 2012.