WPVGA Working on Water Issues
The WPVGA continues to work hard on water issues. The Water Task Force is very active and the Governmental Affairs Committee has made High Capacity Well legislation its top priority. There is still a significant backlog of high cap well permit applications not moving forward at the DNR, while several applications in the Central Sands area have been denied.
The WPVGA is working closely with our lobbyists at DeWitt, Ross & Stevens in Madison in an effort to produce a high capacity well bill that will be favorable to potato and vegetable growers. We are also working with a broad coalition on this issue, which includes the Dairy Business Association as well as the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. We are hopeful that a high capacity well bill that is favorable to agriculture will be passed by the Wisconsin legislature by the end of June. We need to get our new wells permitted, and our existing wells repaired and replaced. We need to be able to transfer our irrigation rights to the next generation of farmers.
The WPVGA has also entered into a contract for services with GZA Geoenvironmental, a firm that specializes in water issues. GZA is providing strategic hydrogeological and advocacy services to the WPVGA.
WPVGA members are encouraged to have a back-up plan in place in the event that a well fails this growing season. Without a new high capacity well bill, it may be difficult for growers to obtain a permit for well replacement. Growers are encouraged to contact their irrigation providers and inquire about pipe availability. Also, any growers with spare irrigation pipe are encouraged to contact the WPVGA office (715-623-7683; [email protected]) and let us know that this pipe is available.
The WPVGA also encourages members to be mobilized and ready to take action by contacting your legislators regarding a new high cap well bill when the time comes. Stay tuned for further updates.