Wisconsin - 2012 State Policy Information Wisconsin State Flag 

Below are results for Wisconsin from the 2011/2012 Water Efficiency and Conservation State Scorecard survey.

Use the links below to jump to a specific question:

Q1. State Agencies Q8. Water Loss Q15. Implementation Requirements
Q2. Toilet Regulations   Q9. Permitting    Q16. State Funding for Conservation
Q3. Showerhead Regulations Q10. Drought Plans Q17. Technical Assistance
Q4. Urinal Regulations Q11. Conservation Plans Q18. Volumetric Billing  
Q5. Clothes Washer Regulations Q12. Authority to Approve Plans Q19. Metered Connections 
Q6. PRSV Regulations Q13. Plan Update Frequency Q20. ET Microclimate Information  
Q7. Building or Plumbing Codes Q14. Planning Framework Additional Information

 

 

 

 

 

 


  1. What state agency or agencies are in charge of drinking water conservation/efficiency?

    The Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) regulates public water systems under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, administers the Safe Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund, and manages the waters of the state through groundwater well approvals, water use registration, and surface water withdrawal permits.  Great Lakes Compact implementing legislation requires new and increased withdrawals, diversions and excessive consumptive use of the waters of the Great Lakes Basin to implement cost effective water conservation and efficiency measures.  Requirements are contained in ch. NR 852, Wis. Admin. Code.  WDNR implements a voluntary statewide water conservation and efficiency program that disseminates information, education, and attempts to identify and fulfill research needs.

    The Public Service Commission is responsible for the financial regulation of water public utilities, which includes both publicly and privately owned systems.  Responsibilities include setting rates and standards of service for water utilities and approving utility-funded water conservation incentive programs.

    The Department of Commerce Safety and Buildings Division is responsible for establishing uniform building codes, including standards for plumbing and private onsite wastewater systems.  The Safety and Buildings Division provides plumbing consultation, inspection, plan review, and product review services. The division also administers certifications, licenses, and registrations of individuals engaged in plumbing. Note that the Governor’s proposed 2011-13 budget would reorganize this division within a new Department of Safety and Professional Services.

    In addition, the UW-Extension assists these agencies with water-related outreach and education, including water conservation and efficiency publications.

  2. Does the state have a water consumption regulation for toilets that is more stringent than the federal standard?  

    No

  3. Does the state have a water consumption regulation for showerheads that is more stringent than the federal standard? 

    No
     
  4. Does the state have a water consumption regulation for urinals that is more stringent than the federal standard?

    No
      
  5. Does the state have a water consumption regulation for clothes washers that is more stringent than the federal standard? 

    No

  6. Does the state have a water consumption regulation for pre-rinse spray valves that is more stringent than the federal standard?  

    No

  7. Does the state have mandatory building or plumbing codes requiring water efficient products that exceed the federal standard? 

    No
     
  8. Does the state have any regulations or policies for water utilities regarding water loss in the utility distribution system?  

    Yes.

    WIS. ADMIN. CODE § PSC 185.85

    “(2) Each utility shall keep its system losses at a minimum level. To accomplish this, all consumption (including that for municipal purposes) shall be metered, where possible. Use of water from hydrants shall be controlled, system leaks shall be reduced to a minimum, and station and customer meters shall be adequately maintained to ensure accuracy. (3) A continuing record comparing pumpage with metered consumption shall be maintained. (4) Unaccounted-for water shall be not greater than 25% of station pumpage for the smaller utilities (Classes C and D) and no greater than 15% for the larger utilities (Class AB).”

    WIS. ADMIN. CODE § PSC 185.85 Text

  9. Does the state require conservation activities as part of its water permitting process or water right permit?

    Yes.

    WIS. STAT. § 281.35:

    “(4)… (b) Before any person specified in par. (a) may begin a new withdrawal or increase the amount of an existing withdrawal, the person shall apply to the department under s. 30.18, 281.34, 281.344 (5), 281.346 (5), or 281.41 for a new approval or a modification of its existing approval if either of the following conditions applies: 1. The person proposes to begin a new withdrawal that will result in a water loss averaging more than 2,000,000 gallons per day in any 30-day period. 2. The person proposes to increase an existing withdrawal that will result in a water loss averaging more than 2,000,000 gallons per day in any 30-day period above the person's authorized base level of water loss… approval; denial. (a) Application. An application under sub. (4)(b) shall contain a statement of and documentation for all of the following…  15. A description of the conservation practices the applicant intends to follow. (d) Grounds for approval. Before approving an application, the department shall determine all of the following… 3. That both the applicant's current water use, if any, and the applicant's proposed plans for withdrawal, transportation, development and use of water resources incorporate reasonable conservation practices.”

    WIS. STAT. § 281.35 Text
      
     
  10. Does the state require preparation of drought emergency plans by water utilities or cities on any prescribed schedule?  

    No. 

  11. Does the state have a mandatory planning requirement for potable water conservation/efficiency separate from drought emergency plans?   

    Yes, the state has two planning processes.  Water supply plans include a water conservation component and are broadly required.  The other planning process applies only to new or increased withdrawals in the Great Lakes Basin.   

    For Water Supply Plans:

    WIS. STAT. § 281.348(3)(a): "1. The department shall establish, by rule, and administer a continuing water supply planning process for the preparation of water supply plans for persons operating public water supply systems. . . .  2. A person operating a public water supply system that serves a population of 10,000 or more and that withdraws water from the waters of the state shall have an approved plan under this section no later than December 31, 2025." 

    WIS. STAT. § 281.348(3)(c): "A person preparing a plan under par. (a) shall include all of the following in the plan: . . . 4. Identification of the options for supplying water in the area for the period covered by the plan that are approvable under other applicable statutes and rules and that are cost-effective based upon a cost-effectiveness analysis of regional and individual water supply and water conservation alternatives."  Respondents report that DNR is currently drafting administrative rules to implement the water supply service area plan requirements.

    WIS. STAT. § 281 Text

    For the Great Lakes Basin:

    WIS. STAT. § 281.346(4s)(a):

    "The department shall issue one or more general permits to cover withdrawals from the Great Lakes basin that average 100,000 gallons per day or more in any 30-day period but that do not equal at least 1,000,000 gallons per day for any 30 consecutive days. The department shall include all of the following in a general permit: . . . 3. Requirements for water conservation, as provided in rules promulgated by the department . . . ." 

    WIS. ADMIN. CODE NR § 852.04: "All persons identified . . . shall submit with the application for a new or increased withdrawal, diversion, or water loss approval . . . (1) A water conservation plan . . . ."

    WIS. ADMIN. CODE NR § 852 Text

  12. Does the state have the authority to approve or reject the conservation plans? 

    Yes, for both planning processes.

    For Water Supply Plans:

    WIS. STAT. § 281.348(3)(b):

    "The department shall [establish by rule] procedures and requirements for all of the following: . . . 2. Approval of a plan by the governing body of each city, village, and town whose public water supply is addressed by the plan before the plan is submitted to the department. . . 2m. Approval of a plan by the department."

    WIS. STAT. § 281 Text 

    For the Great Lakes Basin

    WIS. ADIMIN. CODE NR § 852.11:

    "(1) The department's review of an application for a new or increased withdrawal, diversion, or water loss approval shall include a review of the water conservation plan required . . . (2) The department may not issue an approval for an application for a new or increased withdrawal, diversion, or water loss approval unless the water conservation plan meets the applicable requirements under this chapter."

    WIS. ADMIN. CODE NR § 852 Text
     
  13. How often does the state require the water utilities to submit a potable water conservation plan (not part of a drought emergency plan)? 

    For Water Supply Plans:

    WIS. STAT. § 281.348(3)(a)(1):

    "The period covered by a plan under this subsection may not exceed 20 years."

    For the Great Lakes Basin:

    WIS. STAT. § 281.346(4s)(a):

    "The term of a general permit issued under par. (a) is 25 years."

    WIS. STAT. § 281 Text 

  14. If the state has a mandatory planning requirement for potable water conservation separate from drought emergency plans, is there a framework or prescribed methodology?

    For Water Supply Plans:

    No.

    For the Great Lakes Basin:

    Yes.

    WIS. ADMIN. CODE NR § 852.07: 

    "(2) A water conservation plan required by this chapter shall, at a minimum, contain all of the following: (a) A description and quantification of current water use and reuse as identified by a water use audit, including a calculation of water use intensity appropriate to the water use sector. . . (b) A description of the water conservation and water use efficiency goals, including quantifiable goals. (c) Documentation of the implementation of the CEMs [conservation and efficiency measures] set forth in s. NR 852.04 (2) and a description of any other existing conservation, efficiency, and reuse measures, including when they were implemented. (d) A monitoring plan to assess the impact of the implemented CEMs [conservation and efficiency measures]."

    WIS. ADMIN. CODE NR § 852 Text  
     
  15. Does the state require water utilities to implement conservation measures, beyond just the preparation and submittal of plans? 

    For Water Supply Plans:

    Yes.

    WIS. STAT. § 281.348(3)(c): "A person preparing a plan under par. (a) shall include all of the following in the plan: . . . 5. An assessment of the environmental and economic impacts of carrying out specific significant recommendations of the plan. . . . 7. Identification of the procedures for implementing and enforcing the plan and a commitment to using those procedures. 8. An analysis of how the plan supports and is consistent with any applicable comprehensive plans. . . and applicable approved area wide water quality management plans . . . ."

    WIS. STAT. § 281 Text

    For the Great Lakes Basin
    :

    There is a requirement to implement CEMs, but no requirement that the water conservation plan be incorporated into the permit as an enforceable condition. 

    WIS. ADMIN. CODE NR §  852.11(3):

    "A water use permit, diversion approval, or water loss approval may include conditions or requirements to ensure the implementation of the water conservation plan. The water conservation plan approval will be in the form of a finding of fact in a permit, or a statement in an approval."

    WIS. ADMIN. CODE NR § 852.08(1): "Persons subject to this chapter shall implement CEMs in compliance with the CEM required elements . . . ."

    WIS. ADMIN. CODE NR § 852 Text 

  16. Does the state offer financial assistance to utilities, cities, or counties for urban water conservation programs such as a revolving loan fund? Grants?  Bonds?  Appropriations?

    Nothing beyond the DWSRF and CWSRF.

    The Wisconsin Public Service Commission does allow municipally owned utilities to recover the costs of water conservation and efficiency efforts through rates.
     
  17. Does the state offer technical assistance for urban water conservation programs? 

    Yes.

    DNR, PSC, and UW Extension staff provide assistance to municipalities for urban water conservation programs. 

    UW Extension created the Water Star community program to recognize municipalities who have adopted innovative water management practices. 

    UW Extension maintains the Environmental Resource Center.

    WDNR is building a statewide voluntary water conservation and efficiency program that will assist communities with urban water conservation programs.
     
  18. Does the state require volumetric billing?

    Yes.

    WIS. ADMIN. CODE § PSC 185.31(1):

    "Except where otherwise authorized by the commission, all water sold by a utility shall be on the basis of meter measurement except that the volume of water used for fire protection, street or sewer flushing, construction, or similar purposes where metering is not practicable may be estimated."  

    WIS. ADMIN. CODE § PSC 185.31 Text
     
  19. What percentage or number of publicly supplied water connections (residential and nonresidential) are metered in your state?
     
  20. Does the state provide statewide ET microclimate information for urban landscapes?  

    No

Additional Information: 

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Water Conservation Website