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August 22, 2011

New York Water Legislation Signed by Governor

On August 15, 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the water withdrawal permitting legislation unanimously passed by the State Senate and Assembly, A5318A/S3798. The new law (Chapters 400-402, Laws of 2011) expands the permitting requirements contained in §§15-1501 et seq. of the Environmental Conservation Law to require that persons withdrawing 100,000 gallons or more per day of the state's waters obtain permits from the the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) . The law imposes no fees for water usage or permit issuance. The new permitting requirements do not become applicable until the DEC promulgates new regulations implementing the legislation.

The governor's press release announcing the signing of the law states that, "[T]his law will enable DEC to comply with commitments under the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (Compact) by regulating all significant water withdrawals occurring in the New York portion of the Great Lakes Basin."

The release notes that the Great Lakes and their watersheds contain more than 18 percent of the world's supply and nearly 90 percent of the United States' supply of fresh surface water. Only about one percent of the water volume is renewed or replaced by precipitation and tributary inflow each year. "Consequently," the release states, "Great Lakes levels can be drawn down dramatically by sizeable water withdrawals. Large withdrawals could adversely affect wetland habitat, spawning grounds, municipal and agricultural water supplies, recreational boating access and hydropower production. As the nation's population increases and water supplies in other regions are consumed, pressure to utilize Great Lakes water outside the region will grow. This valuable resource must be carefully managed to ensure that it continues to provide environmental and economic benefits for future generations. This law will ensure that New York upholds its commitments under the Compact."

Posted by Rachel Treichler at 08/22/11 8:35 PM



Copyright 2013, Rachel Treichler



About NY Water Law

New York Water Law covers legal developments relating to water in New York and in jurisdictions that may be influential in New York. The author, Rachel Treichler, practices law in the Finger Lakes region.
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