[174C-62] Declaration of water shortage. (a) The commission shall formulate a plan for implementation during periods of water shortage. As a part of the plan, the commission shall adopt a reasonable system of permit classification according to source of water supply, method of extraction or diversion, use of water, or a combination thereof.

(b) The commission, by rule, may declare that a water shortage exists within all or part of an area when insufficient water is available to meet the requirements of the permit system or when conditions are such as to require a temporary reduction in total water use within the area to protect water resources from serious harm. The commission shall publish a set of criteria for determining when a water shortage exists.

(c) In accordance with the plan adopted under subsection (a), the commission may impose such restrictions on one or more classes of permits as may be necessary to protect the water resources of the area from serious harm and to restore them to their previous condition.

(d) A declaration of water shortage and any measures adopted pursuant thereto may be rescinded by rule by the commission.

(e) When a water shortage is declared, the commission shall cause a notice thereof to be published in a prominent place in a newspaper of general circulation throughout the area. The notice shall be published each day for the first week of the shortage and once a week thereafter until the declaration is rescinded. Publication of such notice shall serve as notice to all water users in the area of the condition of water shortage.

(f) The commission shall cause each permittee in the area to be notified by regular mail of any change in the conditions of the permittee's permit, any suspension thereof, or of any other restriction on the use of water for the duration of the water shortage.

(g) If an emergency condition arises due to a water shortage within any area, whether within or outside of a water management area, and if the commission finds that the restrictions imposed under subsection (c) are not sufficient to protect the public health, safety, or welfare, or the health of animals, fish, or aquatic life, or a public water supply, or recreational, municipal, agricultural, or other reasonable uses, the commission may issue orders reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such actions as the commission deems necessary to meet the emergency be taken, including but not limited to apportioning, rotating, limiting, or prohibiting the use of the water resources of the area. Any party to whom an emergency order is directed may challenge such an order but shall immediately comply with the order, pending disposition of the party's challenge. The commission shall give precedence to a hearing on such challenge over all other pending matters. [L 1987, c 45, pt of 2]

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