Meeting the Michigan or Indiana water use reporting requirements

Agricultural water users in Michigan and Indiana with the capacity to pump 70 gallons per minute or more need to report their water use by April 1.


Water use reporting and registration are important parts of water resource management in both Michigan and Indiana. 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 withdrawals 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.) from both surface and ground water withdrawals. The annual report is due by April 1 of the following year and includes monthly water use estimates.

The Indiana SWWF reporting system offers paper and online reporting options. Personalized letters for each SWWF user are mailed at the end of each year containing the registration information and the last year reported volumes. 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 Indiana Significant Water Withdrawal Facility Data.

Indiana locations of currently registered SWWFs and the previous three years of reported water use are available at Significant Water Withdrawal Facility Registration - Indiana Code. In Indiana, if you have a newly acquired or installed SWWF or a facility that has never been registered, you can contact Allison Mann of the Water Rights and Use Section of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water at 317-234-1101 or toll free at 1-877-928-3755.

In Michigan, agricultural (LQWU) reports are completed by use of the online system. A new website is being used for reporting your 2018 LQW use. Michigan producers will need to create a login to use the system at MILogin for Citizens. Pump information and reports submitted from 2012 through 2017 must be linked from the old system to the new system. It is important for water users to work though this migration process rather than reentering location and baseline capacities. This avoids mistakes, duplication of withdrawal sites and loss of pump history.

Once you have linked your withdrawal site information in the old system to the new, review the list of previously reported water withdrawal pumps for each farm. Make sure none of your withdrawal locations are missing, even if they were inactive for the past year or more. An online tutorial on the use of the new reporting system is available at Water Use Reporting tutorial.

Michigan sends general reminders to each LQW user each winter. Specific withdrawal site information from reporting prior to 2018 is in the computer system and is updated by the water user with last year’s monthly water use. Users of newly registered LQW that started pumping in the past year, enter the new systems information from the registration along with its first year’s monthly water use. Alternate reporting system can only be accepted with the permission from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. If you have no way of using the new online system or have questions about the system, contact Abigail 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, LQW use reporting website links or other large quantity water use requirements information can be found at Michigan State University Extension’s Irrigation website.

Reporting Large Volume Water Use (LVWU) withdrawals alone will not meet the Michigan’s LQW Registration requirement. A 2017-18 effort to register, un-registered LQW constructed prior to October of 2010 resulted in limited application requests. The only current system available to meet the Michigan’s registration requirement for any withdrawal constructed after October of 2010 that was not previously registered is to register it as a new water withdrawal through the Michigan Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool.

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