Online water use reporting must be completed by April 1

Large volume agricultural water users have one month left to file their 2012 report with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Since 2003, the state of Michigan has required commercial water users with the capacity to withdraw over 100,000 gallons per day (70 gallons per minute) to report their water withdrawals and water conservation practices. Agricultural users report this information annually to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), while all other industries report to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Completed reports for the 2012 season are due April 1.

Water use reporting is mandated by the Great Lakes Compact Agreement ratified by eight U.S. governors and two Canadian premiers of basin states in 2008. Under the Compact, states and provinces agreed to ban diversions outside the basin and are required to account for new and increasing water withdrawals within their borders. Water use reporting is Michigan’s contribution to regional water stewardship. Participation by large volume agricultural users is essential for accurate accounting of our freshwater resource.

In the past, MDARD provided Michigan producers with paper forms to submit through the mail. However, beginning this year the agency is moving to an online reporting system. The new online system enhances the reporting process in a number of ways. Accuracy and efficiency are improved by eliminating the need for transfer of data from paper forms. The annual task will also be less redundant for users thanks to an upgraded database that stores pump identification information from year-to-year.

Resources are available to assist agricultural water users with the switch to online reporting. The MDARD water use reporting webpage provides an overview of the process and links to several resources, including a reporting tutorial available in both pdf and video formats.

Those that would like additional assistance with reporting can attend one of two hands-on workshops to complete their report with the guidance of Michigan State University Extension, MDARD and MAEAP professionals. One workshop will be offered Thursday, March 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Alpena Community College in Alpena, Mich. For more information and registration, contact MSU Extension educator James DeDecker at 989-734-2168. A second event will be held Wednesday, March 13, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Van Buren Conference Center in Lawrence, Mich. For more information on this program, contact MAEAP technician Kyle Mead at 269-657-4030 ext. 5.

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