Reporting Questions and Answers
Who Must Report?
The new reporting program includes separate reporting thresholds for withdrawals from rivers, streams and brooks; lakes; and groundwater. Water users who make withdrawals larger than the threshold amounts are required to report their water withdrawals.
Who is Exempt?
Exemptions are included for non-consumptive water users, who return most of their withdrawal to the resource, for household use, for emergency use, and for withdrawals from most man-made storage ponds. Duplication of reporting is eliminated by exempting water users who are already reporting to other state agencies such as the Department of Human Services, Drinking Water Program or the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources. An exemption is also provided for water users required to report under an existing license or permit from any state agency. The specific exemptions described in section 470-C include:
Agricultural Water Use
In cooperation with the DEP, the Department of Agriculture administers all issues relating to agricultural water use. This includes maintaining a water withdrawal reporting program specific to agricultural water users, as well as coordination of all other agricultural programs relating to water use, such as providing assistance for the develoment of water use management plans, adninistering the water source cost-share program, and assisting in site visits for new pond development. For information on these programs, see the Department of Agriculture's Water Withdrawal web page.
What Must be Included in Reports?
Information on actual and anticipated water use, identification of the water source location of the withdrawal including the distance of each groundwater withdrawal from the nearest surface water source, the volume of the withdrawals that might be reasonably anticipated under maximum high-demand conditions and the number of days those withdrawals may occur each month and the location and volume of each point of discharge. The information on actual water use should be based on daily water use, unless some other agreement is made with the Department. The Department has a water withdrawal reporting form. Data may also be submitted in other formats by agreement with the Department. Please contact us if you would like to discuss the frequency or form of reporting.
Must Withdrawals be Metered?
The short answer is no, water withdrawals do not need to be metered. Water withdrawal reports should be based on the best available information, so if you are currently metering your water withdrawals your reporting should be based on that data. However, if you do not currently meter your water withdrawals you are not required to begin metering to comply with the new reporting requirement. Your reporting may be based on reasonable estimates of your withdrawals based on such information as estimated use rates and duration, or output quantity and water input per unit of output. Please contact us to discuss how you might reasonably estimate your water withdrawals.
What About Confidentiality?
Title 38, Section 470-D attempts to balance the need for public information with the desire for confidentiality by making the actual water use reports submitted confidential, while allowing the DEP to publish the aggregated data on a watershed basis, much as some other sensitive data is currently handled in other state programs.
For Further Questions?
If you have any questions about this reporting program, please contact Mark Margerum (207-287-7842).