Michigan's Water Use Reporting Program

Industries with the capacity to withdraw over 100,000 gallons per day (70 gallons per minute) are required to report to the state the water withdrawals and water conservation practices of their pumps.  This was initially mandated by Public Act 148 of 2003, now Part 327 of P.A. 451 of 1994, the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.
 
On December 13, 2005 - Annex 2001 of the Great Lakes Compact Agreement was signed by the Great Lakes Governors and Premiers.  The Annex 2001 provides protections for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin which includes a ban on new diversions of water outside the Basin and stipulated that each state will create a program for the management and regulation of new or increased large withdrawals to ensure an effective and efficient water management program.
 
Michigan's solution is that all water users having a capacity to withdraw water quantities averaging 100,000 gallons per day (70 gallons/minute) must report use on an annual basis to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) if you are an agricultural user and to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) for all other industries.  There is no fee if reporting to MDARD.
 
Any proposed new or increased volume large capacity pumps must also now consult the Michigan Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool (WWAT) prior to installation and subsequent reporting.  To consult the WWAT and register your new or increased large capacity pump go to http://www.deq.state.mi.us/wwat/.
 
MDARD maintains records for 1800 records reporting more than 9500 large capacity pumps.  As of 2012, MDARD moved to a mandatory on-line reporting system.  You may access the system at http://www.deq.state.mi.us/wur.  The state uses a common platform with two branches (MDARD and MDEQ) to allow information to be integrated directly with the WWAT and baseline data to more accurately reflect all water use in a given area around the state.
 
There are a number of reasons for requiring on-line reporting:
  • Transferring data from paper forms is very labor intensive.
  • Each time data is transferred, there is an opportunity for error - the current database is limited in ability to check for discrepancies and redundancy.
  • It decreases duplication of effort in reporting - i.e. need only report pump name, Latitude/Longitude, other specifications once.
  • Puts the onus on the water user for consistency in reporting from year to year.
  • Ties into the WWAT Registration process.
  • Will save time in reporting for the producer in the long run.
It is understood that a number of producers may have no access to or little knowledge of computers.  If this is the case for you we suggest that you consult with your local conservation district (often housed in the local USDA Service Center) for assistance.
 
For answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) click here  
 
For the Water Use Reporting On-line Tutorial click here
 

Contact Information
If you have any questions concerning, or need assistance with, agricultural water use reporting, please contact:

Abigail Eaton
Environmental Stewardship Division
Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
PO Box 30017
Lansing, MI  48909
517-284-5612
eatona@michigan.gov