Title: Some Economic and Policy Aspects of the Water Use Problems in the Paw Paw Basin By Raleigh Barlowe
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00003153/00001
 Material Information
Title: Some Economic and Policy Aspects of the Water Use Problems in the Paw Paw Basin By Raleigh Barlowe
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: The Conservation Foundation
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Richard Hamann's Collection - Some Economic and Policy Aspects of the Water Use Problems in the Paw Paw Basin By Raleigh Barlowe
General Note: Box 12, Folder 11 ( Conservation Foundation - Symposium Papers on Water Allocation in Eastern U. S. - 1956 ), Item 6
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00003153
Volume ID: VID00001
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Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
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Full Text

Draft for discussion



Cosmos Club, Washington, Do Co
October 4-6, 1956,

Some Economic and Policy Aspects of the
Water Use Problem in the Paw Paw Basin


Raleigh Barlowe

30 East 30th Street
New York City


Raleigh Barlowe
Michigan State University

As I begin this paper, I am struck by its similarity to Hans Christian

Anderson's wonderful story of "The Emperor;s New Clotheso" Like the emperor's

wardrobe, much of this report is fabricated out of thin air, This situation

has resulted not because of any desire on my rt to perpetuate a frauds but

rather because of a lack of the basic data needed for a detailed analysis of the

water use problem.

This limitation precludes the use of a benefits-cost analysis. But it does

not prevent speculation regarding the nature of the economic and policy problems

that will arise with the increased use of water in the Paw Paw river basin The

discussion of these issues that follows is divided into three parts~, Attention

is first given to the economic importance of water resources in the Paw Paw area

Consideration is then given to some types of information needed for a thorough

analysis of the water problem in this area And finally, some projections are

made to indicate the scope and nature of the policy issues that may come up in

the future

Economic Importance of Water Resources

The Paw Paw river basin of southwestern Michigan involves a drainage area

of 446 square miles, This relatively small area enjoys an average rainfall of

35.5 inches per year, most of which falls during the growing season, The climate

tends to be moderate. Serious droughts are rare. Most of the area enjoys an

above average supply of ground water; and much of it lies within a few miles of

Lake Michigan

* Research contribution

of the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Statione

2 -

As these characteristics suggest, the Paw Paw basin enjoys a good water

resource base which far exceeds the average found in most parts of the United

States or Michigan, Thus far, very few serious water problems have arisen in the

basing and most of these have resulted from high water and flood conditions rather

than from water shortages With the increasing use and importance of water re-

sources in the area, however, it appears that water might easily become a factor

of occasional strategic importance in the future,

The growing economic importance of water resources can best be illustrated

by a few examples involving its principal uses. At the present time, the most

important uses of water in the Paw Paw area can be classified into four groups

(1) domestic and municipal, (2) industrial and power generation, (3) recreational,

and (4) agricultural uses

Domestic and municipal Uses

According to the 1950 census, the Paw Paw basin supports a population of

approximately 60,000 people. Of this total population, 18,769 people lived in

Benton Harbor at the mouth of the Paw Paw river; 9,095 lived within the incorpor-

ated limits of Coloma, Gobles, Hartford, Lawrence, Lawton, Paw Paw, and Watervliet;

and around 32,500 people lived in the unincorporated rural portions of the basin.

All of these people use water for domestic purposes; and with the trend

toward population growth and an increasing per capital use of water supplies, we

must look forward to an increasing demand for domestic water supplies~ In rural

areas, these additional supplies will come for the most part from individually

owned wells,

According to data assembled by the 1iiichigan Water Resources Comnission, the.-ar-

ious municipalities within the basin pumped an average of 1;,23,500 gallons of water

_ _C ____~ I


per day from 22 municipal wells during the 1953-l5 period,l/ Of this total, an

average of 797,500 g.pcd. were used for domestic, municipal, and sewerage dilution

purposes while 526,000 gpp.d, were used for industrial purposes, Except for the

city of Benton Harbor which draws its water supplies from Lake Michigan, most of the

increasing water needs of the municipalities will continue to come from ground


Industrial and Power Uses

Except for Benton Harbor, the Paw Paw basin cannot be classified as a heavily

industrialized area. Even so, it boosts 21 important water-using industries, Six

of these depend upon municipalities for their water supplies while the other 15

reported pumping as much as 9,203,000 gped, from 42 wells,2/ The Watervliet Paper

Company-- the largest water-using industry in the basin-- pumps 5,000,000 gppod,

from its 12 wells and uses considerable additional water from the Paw Paw river in

its manufacturing processes. Most of the remaining big water-users are wineries

or food processing plants that use water on a seasonal basis. Hydroelectric power

dams are also operated on an intermittent basis at Paw Paw, Watervliet, and Lawrence,

Practically all of the water used for industrial purposes is used for washing,

cooling, and waste disposal purposes. In this respect, very little water is

actually consumed by these uses. Pollution problems have arisen in several cases

and the control of these problems has posed certain limitations on the prospects

for industrial expansion.

Only fragmentary data are available regarding the economic importance of the

water resources used for industrial and power purposes. If no water were available

for these uses, they would certainly cease to exist, But some water will always

1 Michigan Water Resources Commission, Water Resources Conditions and Uses in the
Paw Paw River Basin, p. 27, (Lansing, 1955). Benton Harbor pumped an additional
2,368,000 gpod.from Lake Michigan of which 1,222,000 gopodo were used for
domestic and municipal purposes and 1,l16,000 gopAd, for industrial uses.

2/ Ibido, pc 28


remain for their use. The real question concerns the possible adjustments that

these industries can make to situations involving reduced water supplies. These

adjustments would probably result in higher processing and waste disposal costs

for most industries and thus weaken their present competitive positions. One can

only guess at the marginal productivity value of water for each -industry. Bit genera:

observations indicate that a good supply of relatively pure water is a necessary

perquisite for most industries and that the availability of an adequate water

supply is one of the prime factors affecting successful industrial location.

Detailed findings are not available concerning the employment rolls or

gross receipts of the various water using industries located in the Paw Paw basin0

But an overall measure of the importance of these industries to the local economy

is suggested by the selected census data reported in Table 1c As this tabulation

indicates, the two-thirds of the total basin area located in Van Buren county

acco nts for 52 percent of the land area and 45 percent of the population in that

county, The 23 percent of the total area of the basin included in Berrien county

accounts for 18 and 19 percent respectively of the land area and population of

that county.

The county data for Van Buren county appear fairly representative for the

entire Paw Paw basin and can thus be used to indicate the overall importance of

processing and manufacturing industries (Cf. Table 1) Only 42 percent of the

people in Van Buren county were classified as rural farm population by the Cenans

in 1950. Twenty-eight percent of the employed persons worked for manufacturing

concerns in 1919 as compared with 26 percent in agriculture. The 75 manufacturing

plants reported in the county in 1947 (most of them small plants not classified

as major water-users) employed 2,811 persons, paid out $6.7 million in wages and

salaries, and reported an addition by manufacturing of $12.2 million to the value

of the products they processed or produced

_ __ ___


Table l1 Selected Census Data for Van Buren and Berrien Counties, Michigan
Van Buren county Berrien county
Item number or percent number or percent
value of total value of total

Land area of county (sq, miles)
Approxo area included in Paw Paw
river basin (sq. miles)

Total population (1950)
Approx, pop. included in basin

Urban population
Rural nonfarm population
Rural farm population

Number of families (1950)
Median income in 1949

Total persons employed (1950)
wholesale, retail trade
transportation, communications and
public utilities
construction work
business and personal services
professional and related work
finance, insurance, and real estate

Number of establishments (1947)
Product value added by manufacturing
Number of employees
Total salaries and wages
Establishments operating in 1950
with 0-19 employees
20-49 employees
50-99 employees
100-249 employees
250 or more employees

Number of farms (1950)
Commercial farm operators
Reported value of farm products sold
in 1949**

Retail trade
Number of stores (1948)
Reported volume of sales








$ 6,708,000




























- 6 -

Van Buren county

Berrien county


number or

percent number or
of total value

of total

qWholesale trade end
Number of establishments (1948) 53 149
Reported volume of sales $ 8,318,000 $ 48,163,000

Personal, business and repair
Services (1948)
Number of establishZmet.* 126 359
Reported volume of receipts $ 1,179,000 $ 5,124,000

Source: U. S. Department of Commerce, County and City Data Book, 1952.

* Total does not include population of Benton Harbor-,

* State-wide data indicate that only about half of the actual sales of farm
products were covered in the Census report for 1949.

____~ __


These data suggest the present importance of industry in the Paw Paw basin*

With the continued industrialization and urbanization of southern Michiganj many

new industries will probably locate in this area during the next few decades.

More and more people will fit into the urban and rnral non-farm classifications.

And a higher and higher proportion of the total employment and income of the area

will be provided by manufacturing and other related enterprises. The availability

of adequate water supplies is only one of the factors that favors these prospect-

ive developments. Without these supplies, however, very little additional

industrial development could be expected.

Recreational Uses

In common with Michigan's "water wonderland" slogan, the water resources of

the Paw Paw basin offer considerable attraction for recreational uses. Most of

the 65 lakes in the area have value for fishing purposes and many are used for

summer cottage and public resort purposes Fishing and canoeing are also popular

sports on the Paw Paw river,

No well accepted criteria has been developed for measuring the economic value

of recreational facilities. But measurable or not, the recreational use of surface

water has long since acquired a high priority in the value system of local

residents. With our increasing population, rising real incomes, shorter work

weeks, and additional vacations-with-pay, the economic significance of this use

will likely increase with the passing years. As a result, the recreational

interests of this area and the state at large can be expected to oppose any

activity that will limit or infringe upon the recreational values now associated

with the use of surface waters.

Agricultural Uses

Agriculture provides one of the most dramatic examples of an increasing

demand for water resources, The farmers of the Paw Paw basin have always depended

on surface or ground waters to water their livestock and they have had a continuous

need for rainfall and other precipitation to ensure normal crop growth, Up until

a relatively recent period, these uses marked a limit to the use of water for

agricultural purposes. Beginning in 1929 and particularly since World War II,

however, a great deal of attention has been given to the use of water for

supplemental irrigation,

A field survey conducted by the Michigan Water Resources Commission in 1954

indicated that irrigation systems were used on 234 farms in the area to irrigate

5,563 acres,/ Approximately half of this acreage was used for strawberries,

raspberries, blueberries, and tree fruit crops; 37 percent wao u:od for vegetable

crops? and 13 percent for mint, flowers, nursery crops, and pasture. This survey

indicated that approximately 760 million gallons of water was used by these 234

irrigation systems in 1954. Seventy percent of these systems used water from

surface streams, lakes or ponds; 20 percent pumped their water from wells; and

10 percent used a combination of surface and ground sources.

Several factors have favored this interest in supplemental irrigation, The

introduction of light weight portable pipe systems has reduced the cost once

associated with heavier pipe systems and at the same time made irrigation equipment

more manageable, Higher farm incomes in the early postwar period favored new

capital investments in farm equipment, Publicity has been given to the fact that

the optimum use of commercial fertilizers frequently calls for more soil moisture

than that supplied by normal precipitation, But the most important factor favoring

irrigation has been the expectation of higher yields and higher product quality

3/ Ibid, ppo 29-30.


Our data concerning the economics of supplemental irrigation and the effects

of irrigation on crop yields in Michigan are still quite "spotty." A field study

conducted by the ,.ichigan Agricultural Experiment Station throughout southern

Michigan in 1953 indicated that most of the farmers contacted felt that their

irrigation practices had helped to increase yields. In the Paw Paw basing for

example, several farmers indicated that irrigation had doubled their strawberry

and raspberry yields and that it had added 50 percent or more to their yields of

crops such as potatoes, sweet corn, and tomatoes, These estimates are fairly

typical of those made in other parts of southern Michigano/ But their overall

significance is doubtless tempered by the fact that 1953 was a year of below

average precipitation in the area.

Many farmers also apply water through their irrigation systems as a means

of protecting specialty crops from frost damage This practice is most important

in the case of the strawberry crop which is often damaged by late frosts during the

blossoming period, A low rate of water application during these frost periods

can protect the blossoms and thus save a promising crop. In 1955, for example,

several growers used their irrigation systems to forestall possible damage from

late frosts in May, This practice made it possible for them to produce 300

or more crates of berries per acre which they sold at prices ranging from ;h4 to $5

per crate. Those fields that were not irrigated reported much lower yields -

often varying from complete crop loss to only 20 percent of the normal expected


Much more needs to be known about the proper timing and optimum management

of supplemental irrigation systems under Michigan conditions, But long before

/ The bulk of the observations made to date in Michigan suggest that supplemental
irrigation can bring both higher yields and a better quality of product in
most years that have average or less than average precipitation. Highest re-
turns are experienced with truck crops, berries, tree fruity potatoes, and
other similar crops Very little irrigation experience has been reported for
field crops such as corn, wheat, beans, or sugar beets. Irrigation helps to
maintain pasture yields during the drier summer months but it is questionable
whether these returns are sufficient to justify pasture irrigation except in
those cases in which the irrigation equipment is used primarily with some
other crop.

10 -

these answers become completely available, the already demonstrated advantages of

supplemental irrigation will probably bring a considerable increase in the use

of irrigation practices, A continuation of the recent growth rate could result

in the use of around 1,000 systems to irrigate approximately 20,000 acres in the

Paw Paw basin by 1961,o The continuation of this growth rate can be affected by

mary variables such as farm income levels and the availability of water supplies.

Any increase in the demand for irrigation water, however, will sooner or later

come in conflict wdth the growing demand for water for domestic, municipal,

industrial and recreational uses. This conflict will probably become most ap-

parent during the drier sunmer months when the overall demand for water is at its

peak and water supplies are at their lowest ebbe

Types of Information Needed for Economic Analysis

Most of the above discussion has been cloaked in general terms primarily

because of the lack of the basic data needed for a more detailed economic analysis.

This situation being what it is, a few comments are in order at this point con-

cerning the types of information needed for a more thorough-going analysis-

Detailed treatment of the economics of increased water use in the Paw Paw

basin calls for some type of benefits-cost analysis, This type of analysis in

turn calls for rather specific findings and assumptions concerning the extent and

/ Cf, Water Resource Conditions and Uses in the Paw Paw River Dasin, ppo 31-32.
As a side note, it may be observed that the Census reports on irrigation
systems in this area and in Michigan as a whole involve considerable undesanum-
eration. The 1955 Census of Agriculture reports that irrigation systems
were used on 116 farms in Van Buren County to irrigate 2,907 acres in 1954
and that systems were used on 277 farms in Berrien County to irrigate 3,507
acres. As a part of the Michigan Water Resources Commission survey in 1954,
visits were made to 109 farms which irrigated 3,005 acres in the half of
Van Buren County included in the Paw Paw basin, Visits were also made to
135 farms which irrigated 2,652 acres in the 18 percent of Berrien County
included in the Paw Paw basin

11 -

value of the present and the anticipated future uses of water and the costs

associated with these uses

Certain data are available concerning the present per capital rates at which

water is used for domestic and municipal purposes and the costs of providing these

supplies- Starting with these data, one can project the future requirements for

domestic and municipal uses, These projections call for definite assumptions

regarding population numbers, per capital use rates, pumping costs, and the avail-

ability of water supplies

A comparable approach can be applied to the water used for recreational

purposes, But with both the domestic and the recreational use of water, problems

arise when we attempt to assign realistic benefit values to the water used either

now or in the future, Various approaches can be used to arrive at the economic

benefit values needed to justify the costs associated with water resource develop-

ment programs, These approaches have a certain amount of merit in many case,

But at the same time, they often result in artificial answers and a pseudo-preci-

sion that has little basis in economic factor As a result, it is often wise to

recognize that the central issue with these water uses is not so much that of

working out a detailed benefits-cost analysis as it is that of providing enough

water to care for the reasonable needs of society

In dealing with domestic and municipal water uses and to a lesser extent

with recreational uses, governmental units often proceed with the assumption

that these uses have an overriding absolute or first priority under all conditions,

Up to a certain points this assumption can be justified on public health and general

welfare grounds But it does have its limits

When no other source of water supply is readily available, domestic and

municipal uses normally have a higher priority than agricultural and industrial

----------- --------------__1_1....
I~ ` -1

-12 -

uses, But when additional sources of supply can be developed at comparable

or even higher costs, considerable emphasis may be given to the overall benefits

associated with agricultural and industrial developments. Under these conditions;

the unit of government involved must consider not only the relative cost of using

a local source of water as compared with a more distant or less accessible source

it must also consider the economic and other benefits that will be foregone to

the community if its decision prevents desired agricultural or industrial develop-


The decisions reached in cases of this type are usually oriented in terms

of the local unit's financial position, its estimate of future needs, and its

ability and willingness to pay the higher costs ordinarily associated with ths

development of the alternative source of supply, Some of the leading planning

problems that local governments face in this regard could be alleviated at least

in part by the provision of state or federal financial support for the development

of new or improved sources of water supply,

The benefits-cost analysis approach really comes into its own when we con-

sider the water requirements for industry, agriculture, and other productive uses,'

With these uses one can compute the expected market value of the increased

production or other benefits associated with the use of additional water supplies

and then compare these benefits Ywth the expected cost of the additional water

used. In an extreme case involving the assumptions of (1) an overall scarcity of

water supplies relative to total demand, (2) an optimum allocation of water

supplies between competing uses, and (3) considerable knowledge about the

production functions of each use, one could even go farther to calculate the

benefits and costs that would arise at the point of equi-marginal returns for

all uses,


Agriculture can be used asan example to indicate the scope of the various

types of data needed for a full scale economic analysis of the benefits and costs

associated with additional water use, lost of the increasing use of water in

agriculture involves irrigation practices, A better analysis of the economic

future of this practice calls for four types of data: (1) data concerning the

effects of irrigation on yields and quality, (2) data regarding the areas that

will probably be irrigated, (3) data on prospective water supplies and the costs

associated with their use, and (4) definite assumptions regarding the effects of

irrigation on future market prices,

Only fragmentary data are now available concerning the net effect of irriga-

tion on crop yields. More information is needed concerning the effects of varying

inputs of water on different crops on different soils and under varying rainfall

and soil moisture conditions Information is also needed concerning the land areas

that are really suited for irrigation agriculture and the extent to which the

operators of these areas will likely use irrigation. For example, one might

ask whether the future will bring more irrigation systems each handling approximate-

ly the same average acreage as now or will the systems tend to increase in size

and acreage coverage?

Future expansion of the area now subject to irrigation will naturally depend

upon the availability of adequate water supplies, In this respect, much more

information is needed regarding the extent of our surface and ground water supplies,

seasonal variations in these supplies, the possibilities for storing flood waters

for later use, and the pumping and piping costs associated with additional water

use. Consideration must also be given at this point to possible conflicts with

other competing uses and to the prospects for a fair allocation of the available

water supplies between these uses,

~_~_~_I_---, 1 1 __~



i -

Finally, informed guesses are needed concerning the effect that the increased

production associated with irrigation practices will have upon product prices, If

this production results in lower unit prices, it will obviously have a quite

different effect upon the overall benefits-cost situation than when it leaves

market price level unchanged.

As these comments suggest, a detailed benefits-cost analysis calls for more

data than are now available or than are likely to be available in the near future,

This situation naturally limits the scope and value of this paper. :lith the data

at hand, however, it is possible to indicate some of the major policy issues that

may come up with varying levels of water resource use,

Some Emerging Policy Problems

As we try to envisage the various policy issues that will arise in the future,

it is best to think in terms of concrete situations. For discussion purposes, four

of these situations can be assumed. Situation 1 assumes an increase in water use

that will bring maximmn utilization of surface water supplies during the drier

summer months. Situation 2 goes farther to assume maximum utilization of both

surface and ground waters. Situation 3 assumes sufficient demand for water to

justify the recharging of ground aquifierso And Situation 4 assumes a need for

bringing water into the basin from Lake Michigan.

Situation 1

Hydograph records for the 1952-54 period indicate that the Paw Paw river had

S a mean monthly discharge of less than 300 cubic feet per second at the Riverside

gaging station for the months of July, August, and September. A high proportion

of this water is needed to support the industrial, power, recreational, and munici-

S pal waste disposal practices now carried on along the stream. This means that only

a caall (not as yet accurately determined) surplus is available for consumptive uses

SI -~

such as irrigation. A relatively small increase in the amount of water taken for

irrigation could thus exhaust this surplus and precipitate a definite conflict of

interests between irrigators and other riparian users

The problem here is one of insufficient surface water resources to provide

for all of the emerging demand Conflicts of interests are inevitable under these

conditions. Conflicts of this type have already brought a limitation of the

pollution "rights" once exercised by several industries and municipalities. And

in the future additional conflicts of interests will probably come with the exer-

cise of many hereto unused riparian rights. This situation will likely preclude

any additional diversion of water for irrigation purposes and may even limit the

diversion practices of established irrigators.

Many policy issues will doubtless arise in the resolution of these problems,

Some of the more important of these can be stated as follows:

1I Public interest in water, What interest or rights does the average

riparian and the average nonriparian owner have in the water flowing

over his property; in this same water once it becomes part of a stream

or lake? What interest does the public hold in the waters of the state?

How far can the state go in its attempt to control or allocate the use

of riparian waters? Can it exercise any proprietary rights in this

regard? To what extent can it apply the police power for this purpose?

Should legislative or constitutional action be sought to extend the

interest that the state has over its public waters? Should comparable

action be sought to limit or expand the scope of the -iparian doctrine?

2, Pollution control How far should the state go in its control of water

pollution? Should exceptions be granted under particular circumstances

as when the added cost of pollution controls prevents plant expansion

-16 -

or limits the competitive position of an industrial plant relative to

firms in other areas? What emphasis should be given to recreational

interests as compared with municipal or industrial cost and convenience

in pollution cases?

3, Unused riparian rights How far can riparian owners go in activating

currently unused riparian rights if the exercise of these rights disrupts

the existing water use pattern and causes inconvenience or loss of

'rights" to other operators? Can these rights be limited by law? If so,

should they be limited to those rights exercised by a specified date?

4h Irrigation rights e What rights do farmers have to divert surface waters

from streams or lakes for irrigation purposes? What rights do they have

to store water either in ponds or small stream reservoirs for future

irrigation use? How can their rights be strengthened to give operators

security in their enterprise expectations? Wlhat protection does a farm

irrigator have against downstream riparians who may claim the water he

now uses for as yet unused riparian purposes against upstream operators

who may install irrigation systems that will deprive him of his present

source of water supply?

5o Allocation of scarce supplies Assuming an overall shortage of surface

water supplies during certain seasons, how should the existing supply of

water be allocated between the various competing uses? How much attention

should be given to the possible use of reservoirs and ponds that can store

excess runoff from periods of above average supply for later use? Assum-

ing that storage facilities are developed, who should bear the cost of

construction and maintenance? Should these developments be financed

entirely by farm irrigators or should a portion of their cost be borne

by municipal, industrial, power, and recreational interests?

17 -

Assuming a division of financial responsibility, should the division

of costs be based on an arbitrary formula or should it be allocated on a

benefits received basis? If a benefits-cost analysis were used, what em-

phasis should be given to municipal and recreational benefits as compared

with the benefits enjoyed by industry and agriculture? Should the costs that

are charged to recreational uses be borne by the owners of resort proper-

ties and by local sportsmen, by the state, or by both? How can joint

water-use enterprises by financed and administered under Michigan law?

Situation 2

The Paw Paw basin enjoys a ground water resource of above average potential

All of the municipalities in the area except Dcnton Harbor and most of the larger

water-using industries depend upon this source for their water supplies Ground

waters are also used with between 20 and 30 percent of the farm irrigation systems,

In view of the existing competition for surface water supplies and the

possible conflicts of interests that can be expected in periods of low stream flow,

an increasing proportion of the water supplies of this area will probably come from

deep wells. The municipalities will continue to emphasize this source because it

provides a dependable and adequate source of potable water, With the average

industrial and agricultural user, this shift from the use of surface to ground

water will involve higher investment and operating costs Over the long run.

'6 A study of the costs of supplemental irrigation conducted under the auspices
of the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station in 1953 indicates that it
cost around $1,200 under 1953 price conditions to install a 100 foot 8-inch
well Ydth a pumping capacity of 250 gallons per minute and around $1,700 to
install a 100 foot 12-inch well (the more commonly installed size) with a
pumping capacity of 500 gallons per minute, Installation of a turbine pump
with electric motor for a 100 foot (80 foot lift) well with 250 gallons per
minute capacity cost around $1,750 A comparable installation with 500
gallons per minute capacity cost $2,350r These same pumps equipped with
gear head drives but without the engine power units cost around $1,500 and
$1,800 respectively (Continued on page 18).

1-~-11 ---1

18 -

however, this additional cost will be justified if it provides a more adequate

and dependable supply of water and if it gives these operators the legal security

they need in the use of water for agricultural or industrial purposes.

It appears that the ground water resources of the Paw Paw area are adequate

to care for practically all of the expected water needs of the next several years

But as we look ahead -- and as we think of the Paw Paw basin as a model of the water

use problems that may arise in other areas -- we can envision a situation in which

the supply of ground water is no longer adequate to meet demand. Under these

conditions many wells will require deeping and temporary exhaustion may become

a problem in many communities.

This situation will give rise to policy problems such as those suggested

in the following questions

What recourse do individual cities or industries have against each other

or against farm irrigators for creating a ground water shortage? Can

they claim damages from others for the cost of deepening their wells or

for possible loss of production? What rights could the recreational

interests and riparian owners claim if the excessive pumping of ground

waters reduced lake levels and normal stream flow? Would individual

water users have any basis for demanding an allocation of ground water

rights among users and how could such a system be administered? What

conservation measures would be in order?

W/ (Continued from page 17)

A comparison of the approximate installation costs under 1953 conditions
of four typical-sized irrigation systems using a shallow well or surface
source of water and using a deep well source follows

Cost of system with gasoline Cost of system with
Acres engine and shallow well or a deep well and an
irrigated surface source at the corner electric motor located
of farmers field at corner of field
5-15 acres $1,000 to $1,200---
15.30 acres $2o,00 $3,350
30-50 acres h00oo 5,150
40-80 acres 5,o00 6 550


19 -

Situation 3

Going beyond situation 2, one may assume a supply and demand relationship

that calls for recharging our ground equifiers, Much of the Paw Paw basin is

overlaid with sandy loam soil of high infiltration capacity Gravel pits are

also located in many parts of the basin, These conditions suggest that a water

recharging program could be carried on to advantage if a definite need were felt

for this type of activity. This program would call for an investment in terraces,

check dams, ditches to divert water to settling basins, some possible reforestation.

and other similar measures that would hold back the runoff during surplus water


Assuming a program of this type, how could it be set up and administered?

Would legislative authorization be necessary or could it be handled under

the present Soil Conservation Districts program or under Michigan2s Water

Management District Act of 19547 Who should bear the cost of ouch a

program? Should it be financed by (1) the operators on whose lands

structures are built; (2) the users of ground water who are most affected

by the problem of critical supplies; (3) the users of ground water who

have started pumping or who have enlarged their operations after a

specified date (4) all of the users of ground watersJ (5) all the tax-

payers in the area or (6) the state or federal government? What stake

would the users of riparian waters have in such a program? Could a

benefits-cost analysis be used to determine an equitable allocation of

costs among the prospective beneficiaries of the program?

Situation 4

The Paw Paw basin is located within a few miles of Lake 1itchigano This

great fresh water reservoir represents a potential source of water that the area

can use if sufficient need existed The cost of bringing this water into the


basin would, of course, vary with the size and length of the pumping system and

its conduit, the amount of water pumped, the location of the system, and its

seasonality of use.

A guide to the location of this system is suggested by the third map pre-

pared by the Michigan Water Resource Commission (Cfo Paw Paw River Drainage System,

Map Not 3o Irrigation Systems). As this map indicates, most of the irrigation,

recreational, and industrial need for water occurs in the lower third of the basin.

Given a greatly expanded demand for water, it would probably be feasible to

authorize the complete appropriation of the flow of the Paw Paw river above

Watervliets The need for water below this point could then be handled by a

pumping and conduit system that would conduct water the four or five miles from

Lake Michigan to the drainage basin of Paw Paw lake This pumped water could then

flow through the lake into the Paw Paw river channel above Watervliet and care

for the surface water needs of the main river basin from there to the river's


This project proposal has a number of parallels in the Lake Michigan region

The city of Grand Rapids, for example, pumps and pipes its water approximately

30 miles from Lake Michigan. Illwaukee pumps its water from the same lake and

at the same time pumps considerable water into the Milwaukee river for navigation

and waste dilution purposes, The Paw Paw proposal differs from these other

cases in the sense that some of the water will be used for consumptive uses such

as irrigation and thus will not come back to the lake If this issue were carried

to the extreme of the Chicago ship canal diversion proposal of the 1930s it could

involve an issue in interstate rights and international lawo

Assuming that a project such as that outlined above were to be carried out,

questions would arise concerning the legality of the diversion of water from the

lake. Among the other policy issues that would arise, one could asks



How would the project be administered and financed? Who should bear

the burden of cost? Should it fall only on the lower part of the basin,

on the whole basin; or on the state? How would the seasonal use of the

project affect its overall value and cost? What riparian rights problems

would arise above Watervliet if arrangements were made to allow the

complete appropriation or diversion of the stream during certain low

water periods? MThat problems would arise in the Paw Paw lake area if

this body of water were used as part of the waterway to get water from

Lake Michigan to the Paw Paw river channel?


Throughout the discussion of these four situations, it has been my purpose

to raise questions rather than answer them. Many of these questions cannot be

answered with our present knowledge, But as we expand our use of water resources

in this area and in similar areas throughout the country, economic and policy

questions of the order mentioned are bound to arise As we move to meet these

problems, we are going to noed much more in the way of research information than

we have at the present time, Unless I am mistaken, we will also need some new

laws that will recognize the changing relationship between man and his supply of

water resources and that will permit a more dynamic approach to the emerging

water use problems of the future

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