Ohio House Bill 473 (“H.B. 473” or the “Act”) authorizes the Division of Soil and Water Resources within the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (“ODNR”) to establish a water-withdrawal and consumptive-use permitting program in Ohio for the Lake Erie watershed, as required by the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (the “Compact”). Once the permitting program is in place, owners or operators of a “facility” that exceeds certain threshold capacities for new or increased water withdrawals or consumptive uses in the Lake Erie watershed must obtain a permit. The Act also provides that facilities with new or increased withdrawals that exceed maximum daily thresholds but fall below those levels when averaged over a 45-day or 90-day period (depending upon the source watershed) are exempt from permit requirements.
The Compact is an agreement among eight states, including Ohio, that share in the water resources of the Great Lakes and portions of the St. Lawrence River. The Compact requires that the party states manage their water withdrawals with common minimum standards for water conservation and sustainable use. Ohio and other member states have adopted the Compact by statute, and Congress ratified it in 2008.
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