Michigan online Large Volume Water Use reports due April 1

Agricultural water use withdrawals in Michigan of 70 gallons per minute or more need to be reported via the new online system by April 1.

Michigan Agricultural Large Volume Water Use reports are due to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), by April 1. Without permission from MDARD, the only legitimate method of reporting is the new online system. An online tutorial on the use of the new reporting system is available, as well as a video tutorial.

This first year of using the online Water Use Reporting system will be very important, allowing producers to build their database within the reporting system. None of your previous year’s reports are directly loaded into the new system, making it very important for water users to review their records back to 2004 and load all registered water withdrawals into the online system.

Large volume water use is defined as the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day (70 gallons per minute). The combined capacity of more than one well at a site – which is 100,000 gallons or greater capacity per day (70 gallons per minute) – also meets the volume water use definition. Large volume water use reporting is required for all agricultural water uses (irrigation, cooling, animal, watering, etc.) from both surface and ground water withdrawals. All non-agriculture related water use reports are sent to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Generic forms were sent from MDARD in late December. Keeping an each year of your report for your files is very important.

The baseline capacity is the reported system capacity used or developed to make a withdrawal on Feb. 28, 2006 or as registered with withdrawal established after Feb. 28, 2006. Reporting a baseline capacity greater than 70 gallons per minute from the original reported or registered baseline capacity constitutes a new water withdrawal. The once required static water level is no longer required but may be reported if available.

Large volume water users need to provide the latitude/longitude for the well location; surface water withdrawals are not required but very helpful to the process. Estimating water use can be accomplished by several methods:

  • water application multiplied by number of applications, plus estimate of additional water use,
  • pump capacity multiplied by run time or fuel/power use per hour,
  • flow meter meters actual flow, note maintenance and calibration concerns,
  • Industry average numbers (Midwest Plan Service or ASAE) with appropriate adjustments (not appropriate for high variable water uses such as irrigation).

Information is available through Michigan State University Extension on estimating water use for irrigation, livestock, forms or other large volume water use requirements. Follow the irrigation link on the left hand side of the screen. There are several upcoming meetings and open house opportunities in Feb. and March where large volume water users can receive help with reporting and registration requirements also listed at the website. Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) technicians located at many of the county NRCS office have been trained to assist producers in completing the large volume water use reporting requirement.

If you have no way of using the new online system contacts Abigail Eaton at eatona@michigan.gov, or 517-241-3933 for assistance or other options.

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