High Cap Wells

KEY MESSAGE: Wisconsin farmers need certainty and clarity in the permitting of new and existing wells. The arbitrary and subjective nature of the process has led to a cycle of stagnation, litigation, and businesses uncertainty.

  • No reasonable business that needs water from such wells will invest millions of dollars to locate or expand here given such uncertainty.
  • We need the legislature to provide:
    • Specificity in statutory procedures and science-based standards that provide for timely and certain new well permitting
    • Protection for code compliant private wells if it is proven that a high capacity well caused damage to the well
    • A clear, science-based, statutory process to ensure that we uncover any problems caused by high capacity wells, such as any harm to surface waters, and a well-defined framework for the Legislature to take further steps to correct any such problems
    • Certainty in the repair, replacement, reconstruction, and transfer of existing high cap wells

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is implementing a new process for approving high cap wells, following a legal opinion issued by Attorney General Brad Schimel. In May, the Attorney General issued a formal opinion that said the DNR lacked authority to put certain conditions on farmers and others who want to construct large wells.

Get more information at: dnr.wi.gov/topic/wells/highcapacity.html