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Industry Updates: WDNR News

Summary Reports on Wisconsin Water Use

Saturday, October 5, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Michael Heyroth
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PSC and DNR Release Summary Reports on Wisconsin Water Use

In mid-September, both the Public Service Commission and the Department of Natural Resources released summary reports of important information regarding water use in Wisconsin. The PSC's Water Fact Sheet compiles data from the financial reports public water utilities are required to file with the PSC annually.  DNR's  Wisconsin Water Use report is based on data collected in conjunction with the agency's Water Use Reporting Program that tracks water withdrawals for all properties with high capacity wells, properties that withdraw 100,000 gallons per day or more in any thirty day period, surface water withdrawals permitted under Wis. Stats. Chapter 30, and Great Lakes basin properties holding a water use permit.


According to the PSC Fact Sheet, Wisconsin public water utilities sold 153 billion gallons of water to retail customers in 2012. Total water sales increased by just over 4 percent between 2011 and 2012, due in part to increased outdoor water use during last year's drought conditions.   In 2012, the average volume of water sold per residential meter was 55,100 gallons, which is nearly 6 percent less than in 2007, even with the unusually hot and dry conditions last summer. As of February 2013, the average quarterly cost for 18,750 gallons of water was $86.59 for residential customers, or $4.62 per 1,000 gallons. Statewide average water rates rose 2.4 percent over 2012 rates due to rising operating costs and necessary investments in infrastructure.


Municipal water systems accounted for nine percent of the 2.25 trillion gallons of water withdrawn from the state's surface and groundwater resources in 2012. According to DNR's permit data, total statewide 2012 withdrawals were up 4.8 percent from 2011. While withdrawals associated with power production declined, withdrawals for irrigation and cranberry production increased dramatically in 2012.  Power generation comprised the greatest percentage of surface water withdrawn, while agricultural irrigation represented the largest use of groundwater in the state, surpassing municipal supply withdrawals for the first time.

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