Unregistered water users have until Sept. 28 to participate in the Unreported Large Quantity Withdrawal Initiative through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
After the deadline, unregistered large quantity withdrawals (LQW) in existence prior to Oct. 1, 2008 could be required to go through the screening process as a new water user and be subject to current withdrawal limits. A LQW is defined as the capacity to pump more than 100,000 gallons per day, roughly 70 gallons per minute.
“Registering large quantity water withdrawals is the law,” said Laura Campbell, Michigan Farm Bureau’s Ag Ecology Department Manager. “We’re urging farms to enroll, if they haven’t already, to avoid being treated as a new user and risking having to go through a potentially expensive site-specific review.”
Campbell clarified that if you’ve been reporting annually, the DEQ already considers your withdrawal as registered in the program.
She said the program benefits farms by protecting water use rights and improving statewide water use data.
“Registering a water use allows farmers to more easily replace wells and pumps, helps with MAEAP verification and provides a safeguard in local water user committees,” Campbell said. “We also don’t want to see any farmers facing fine and penalties for unregistered large-quantity withdrawals.”
To take advantage of the initiative, farmers will need to complete the program’s application. Users with unreported water withdrawals will need to provide DEQ with proof of location, ownership, and sufficient information proving the withdrawal existed prior to Oct. 1, 2008.
Examples of proof of existence can include well and pump installation or repair records, fuel or energy bills stating location, crop production contracts, historical photos, and well logs dated prior to Oct. 1, 2008.
If you don’t know if you’re registered, or if your LQW was installed after Oct. 1, 2008, contact Abby Eaton with the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development at [email protected] or 517-284-5612.