Science as a fundamental framework for shaping policy discussions regarding the use of groundwater in the State of Michigan: a case study

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The availability and use of freshwater is a growing concern in the United States and around the globe. Despite apparently abundant water resources, several conflicts over water use have emerged in the Great Lakes region and the State of Michigan. These conflicts resulted in state legislation that both addresses water withdrawal from the Great Lakes Basin and requires the State of Michigan to begin a process to address the sustainability of water resources. The former resulted in Michigan's support of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Water Resources Compact, whereas the latter resulted in the formation of a Groundwater Conservation Advisory Council. This paper focuses primarily on the Council, describing its formation, and the products it generated. In particular, we focus on the development of indicators of sustainable use of water, the creation of a water withdrawal assessment process to determine if a proposed withdrawal will create an adverse resource impact in the state, and how the lessons learned in Michigan may be applied to other units of government addressing similar issues. Attention is also given to the Compact, as it provides important context for the Council's formation.

Keywords: Great Lakes, Groundwater withdrawal, Michigan, Science policy, Sustainability

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