Michigan and Indiana: Farmers report water usage online

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 Volume Water Uses (LVWU). 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 LVWU 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.

In Michigan, agricultural LVWU reports can only be completed by use of the online system. An online tutorial on the use of the new reporting system is available. Michigan will not be sending individual reminders for reporting; rather the expectation is that water users will use the computer system each year to report annual use and new withdrawals. Alternate reporting system can only be accepted with the permission from MDARD. If you have no way of using the new online system or have questions about the system contacts Abigail Eaton at [email protected] or 517-284-5612.

Online water use reporting will be very important as the management of water increases, allowing farmers to build their database within the reporting system. Both states provided online reporting systems for the first time for the 2012 water use year. In Michigan only your 2012 and 2013 reports are loaded into the new system making it very important for water users to review their record back to 2004 and load all previously unreported registered water withdrawal facilities into the online system even if they were inactive for 2014 year.

Reporting LVWU withdrawals established, but not in the system prior to 2006 will not meet the Michigan Registration requirement. In 2008 Large Volume Water users had a one time opportunity to report 2007 or 2008 water use and also meet the States registration requirement. The only current system available to meet the registration requirement for any new or old withdrawals that was not previously registered or reported is to register it as a new water withdrawal through the Michigan Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool.

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 from the previous year. Users can modify any of the facility information and add the monthly water use for the current year. A description of Indiana's registration program and online reporting option are available.Locations of currently registered SWWFs and the previous three years of reported water use are also available. In Indiana if you have a newly acquired or installed SWWF or a facility that has never been registered, please contact Allison 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.

The required estimated water use can be accomplished by several methods including acre inch record, pump capacity multiplied by run time and flow meter readings. Information on estimating water use for irrigation/livestock, forms, or other large volume water use requirements can be found on Michigan State University Extension webpage or email me, Purdue/MSU Extension Irrigation Educator, with request for Water Use Reporting and Registration information at [email protected].