Still time to report large or significant water use

Agricultural water users in both Indiana and Michigan have until at least June 1 to report their water use for water sources with the capacity to pump 70 gallons per minute or greater.

Regulations dictate that water use reports are always due April 1 of the following year in both Indiana and Michigan. With that said, Abby Eaton from Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Environmental Stewardship Division noted that the Michigan reporting system will remain open until June for 2022 reporting for those who were unable to meet the deadline. Late is always better than never. Allison Mann of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Division of Water says, “We will continue collecting 2022 data through the summer even though the deadline is past. We do not have a deadline for when we will no longer accept reports, but we try to have the majority of the data collected by August of each year.”

Water use reporting and registration are important parts of water resource management in both Indiana and Michigan. Both states signed onto the Great Lakes Compact in which the federal government acknowledged each Great Lakes State’s ability to manage the water resource of the basin, including the ability to deny diversions of water to areas outside the Great Lakes watershed.

Indiana uses the term Significant Water Withdrawal Facility (SWWF), where Michigan refers to these as Large Quantity Withdrawals (LQW). In either state, these terms apply to water use with the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day (70 gallons per minute). One or more withdrawal at a site having a 100,000 gallons or greater capacity, or combined capacity per day, also meets the SWWF or LQW water use definition. Water use reporting is required for all agricultural water uses (irrigation, cooling, animal, watering, etc.) as a monthly estimate from both surface and groundwater withdrawals.

The Indiana SWWF reporting system offers both paper and online reporting options. Personalized letters for each SWWF user are mailed at the end of each year containing the registration information and reported volumes from the previous year. Users can modify any of the facility information and add the monthly water use for the previous year. A description of Indiana’s registration program and a link to the online reporting option are available at Significant Water Withdrawal Facility Registration.

In Indiana, if you have a newly acquired or installed SWWF or a facility that has never been registered, you can contact Mann of the Water Rights and Use Section of the IDNR, Division of Water at 317-234-1101 or toll free at 1-877-928-3755 to register.

In Michigan, agricultural (LQW) reports should be completed through the online reporting system. An online tutorial for the reporting system is available for first time. Michigan sends reminders to each established LQW user in the fall. Withdrawal information is maintained in a computer program under individual accounts for which the user is responsible. It can be used to enter the previous year’s monthly water use, update the reporting system with any new registered withdrawals and facilitate the transfer of withdrawals due to sale of lease agreements. An alternate paper report may be accepted. You must already have an established reporting account and no more than 10 pumps to report. To request a paper form or if you have questions about the reporting system, contact Eaton at or 517-284-5612.

The required estimate of monthly water use can be accomplished by several methods including acre-inch records, pump capacity multiplied by run time, and flow meter readings. Information on estimating water use for irrigation, livestock farms, or other large volume water use requirements can be found at Michigan State University Extension’s Irrigation page.

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