Large-volume, water-use reports are due April 1

Here are the guidelines and reporting requirements for large-volume, agricultural water users

Michigan agricultural large-volume, water-use reports are due to the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) by April 1. Large-volume water-users are those with the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day (70 gallons per minute).The combined capacity of more than one well at a site which is 100,000 gallons or greater capacity per day (70 gallons per minute), also meets the volume water use definition. Large-volume, water-use reporting is required for all agricultural water uses – irrigation, cooling, animal, watering, etc. – from both surface and ground water withdrawals.

Large-volume water usage.
Photo 1. Large-volume water usage

All non-agriculture-related water-use reports are sent to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Generic forms were sent from MDA in late December. Keeping a copy each year of your report for your files is very important.

The baseline capacity is the reported system capacity used or developed to make a withdrawal on February 28, 2006 or as registered with withdrawal established after February 28, 2006. Reporting a baseline capacity greater than 70 gpm from the original reported or registered baseline capacity constitutes a new water withdrawal. The once required static water level is no longer required but may be reported if available.

Large-volume, water-users need to provide the latitude/longitude for the well location; surface water withdrawals are not required but very helpful to the process. This information may be provided by a handheld GPS unit or the groundwater mapping website: or

Estimating water use can be accomplished by several methods:

  • Water application multiplied by the number of applications, plus the estimate of additional water use
  • Pump capacity multiplied by run time: or fuel/power use per hour
  • Flow meter: Meters actual flow, note maintenance and calibration concerns
  • Industry average numbers (Midwest Plan Service or ASAE) with appropriate adjustments (not appropriate for high variable water uses such as irrigation).

For information on estimating water use for irrigation or livestock, forms, or other large-volume, water-use requirements can be found at: Follow the “irrigation” link on the left side of the screen. Forms are available at from MDA.