“ Protecting the world's greatest freshwater resource and the communities that depend upon it ”

Reforming Water Law

The Great Lakes region is blessed with spectacular lakes, rivers, and wetlands.  These freshwater resources are natural treasures that also provide a relatively abundant supply of freshwater to meet the region’s needs.  The challenge is to protect their natural characteristics while allowing for sustainable and responsible water use.  Complicating this balance are overlapping public and private water rights.  As our knowledge of freshwater resources grows and our values change, water law must be improved and reformed.

The Great Lakes Environmental Law Center works to reform water law by educating lawmakers and the public, litigating precedent setting cases, and researching new policy approaches and solutions.  In Michigan, we are helping state lawmakers integrate new scientific tools into the state’s water management laws.  This work builds on efforts to pass the Great Lakes compact, which offers a tremendous opportunity for reforming water law in the region.





Additional resources on reforming water law:


  •     Great Lakes Law updates on water law reform  
  •     Great Lakes Environmental Law Center memo to Ohio legislative leaders regarding the proposed constitutional amendment to protect groundwater rights
  •     Great Lakes Environmental Law Center memo to Michigan State Senator Patty Birkholz regarding Groundwater and the Public Trust Doctrine