Groundwater

Background

All water is connected. When groundwater is depleted, all water users – businesses, municipalities, farmers, fishermen, boaters, and more – pay the price. If we allow frac sand mining companies, factory farms, and other large water users to pull from the same source without consideration of how much water each entity is using, supplies will quickly draw down. And we will all pay the price because groundwater provides drinking water for 70% of Wisconsin citizens, supplies water for industries and businesses in 97% of Wisconsin communities, sources nearly all crop irrigation, and sustains springs, lakes, and rivers.

The simple fact is this: if we do not take action on this important issue, more streams and drinking water wells will run dry and more lake front properties will become weed front property.

View the one-page fact sheet about protecting Wisconsin’s groundwater.

Recent Action

A number of bills were introduced during the 2015-16 legislative session. Some would have solved our groundwater crisis, some made it even worse, and some acknowledged a problem, but needed fixing. Although the legislature failed to pass a bill that will solve our groundwater crisis, they also – because of your work – weren’t able to pass Death by a Thousand Straws, which would have prevented us from ever being able to solve our groundwater crisis.

This session, you took nearly 13,000 actions to stand up for Wisconsin’s groundwater – writing letters, calling and meeting with your legislators, and demanding real solutions to protecting our groundwater.

To learn more about groundwater legislation introduced this session, visit the Vote Tracker:

Looking Ahead

You should be proud of your work to defeat Death by a Thousand Straws. However, our fight is far from over. We cannot be satisfied with simply stopping attacks like these and will continue to fight for strong groundwater protections.

That’s why we are partnering with organizations and citizens in every corner of the state, especially the areas directly affected by groundwater depletion, like the Central Sands, to strategize how we can achieve a serious solution to our groundwater crisis.

Stay tuned as we continue to call on you to lead the charge in this ever important fight. Together, we will ensure that no family goes thirsty and no lake runs dry.

Profile: The Little Plover River

On average, the sand mining process uses 420,500 to 2 million gallons of water per day!

At one time, the Little Plover River in Portage County was best known because it was a Class I premier cold water trout stream. These days, you are more likely to know it as one of America’s top 10 most endangered rivers (designated by American Rivers in 2013). Historically, the Little Plover never went dry, even in drought years, until the summer of 2005 when several sections of the river went dry, killing brook trout and other aquatic life. Shockingly, this continued for four years. In 2010, record-setting rainfall kept the river flowing, but it remained low. The Little Plover is fed by groundwater, and it’s no coincidence that Portage County has the highest concentration of high capacity wells in the state of Wisconsin.

The Little Plover in 1997

The Little Plover in 1997

The Little Plover in August 2005

The Little Plover in August 2005

Information for this profile provided by Friends of the Little Plover River

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