Management of surface water and groundwater withdrawals to maintain environmental stream flows in Michigan

By: , and 
Edited by: Kenneth W. Potter and Donald K. Frevert



In 2008, the State of Michigan enacted legislation requiring that new or increased high-capacity withdrawals (greater than 100,000 gallons per day) from either surface water or groundwater be reviewed to prevent Adverse Resource Impacts (ARI). Science- based guidance was sought in defining how groundwater or surface-water withdrawals affect streamflow and in quantifying the relation between reduced streamflow and changes in stream ecology. The implementation of the legislation led to a risk-based system based on a gradient of risk, ecological response curves, and estimation of groundwater-surface water interaction. All Michigan streams are included in the legislation, and, accordingly, all Michigan streams were classified into management types defined by size of watershed, stream-water temperature, and predicted fish assemblages. Different streamflow removal percentages define risk-based thresholds allowed for each type. These removal percentages were informed by ecological response curves of characteristic fish populations and finalized through a legislative workgroup process. The assessment process includes an on-line screening tool that may be used to evaluate new or increased withdrawals against the risk-based zones and allows withdrawals that are not likely to cause an ARI to proceed to water-use registration. The system is designed to consider cumulative impacts of high-capacity withdrawals and to promote user involvement in water resource management by the establishment of water-user committees as cumulative withdrawals indicate greater potential for ARI in the watershed.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Management of surface water and groundwater withdrawals to maintain environmental stream flows in Michigan
DOI 10.1061/41143(394)37
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher American Society of Civil Engineers
Contributing office(s) Michigan Water Science Center
Description 12 p.
Larger Work Type Conference Paper
Larger Work Title Watershed Management 2010: Innovations in Watershed Management under Land Use and Climate Change
First page 409
Last page 420
Conference Title Watershed Management 2010
Conference Location Madison, Wisconsin
Conference Date August 23-27 2010
Country United States
State Michigan
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N