June 17, 2011Client Alert

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Announces June 30, 2011 Water Use Registration Deadline

All Wisconsin industries that have the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons or more of water per day, or 70 gallons or more per minute, from any water source, are required to register with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (“WDNR”) by June 30, 2011.


This registration requirement, which is an expansion of already existing requirements for high capacity wells, will apply to both existing and new withdrawals from either surface or groundwater sources. Industries expected to be affected by the registration requirement include large irrigators, cranberry growers, power plants, paper companies, public water systems, golf courses, fish farms, mining operations, large crop irrigators, and concentrated animal feeding operations (“CAFOs”). Industries that only make temporary withdrawals are not exempt from this requirement. There are, however, two exceptions to the registration mandate: (1) withdrawals to supply vehicles used to support the needs of persons or animals being transported, and (2) withdrawals for fire fighting, humanitarian, or emergency response purposes.


Each property that meets the registration threshold must be registered separately. For purposes of registration, a single property is considered any contiguous parcel controlled by one owner or lessee. While there is no initial fee to register with the WDNR, a $125 fee will be assessed against each registered property on an annual basis. Additional fees for very large withdrawals (defined as withdrawals above 50 million gallons per year) may apply and would be based on the actual amount of water withdrawn. Facilities that require registration can obtain WDNR’s “Water Withdrawal Registration Form”, Form 3300-267 (R 5/11)


Registered withdrawals will also need to measure or estimate the volume of water withdrawn every month and report that information to the WDNR each year by March 1. WDNR intends to send reminders of the annual reporting requirements and the process for submitting the information.


The purpose of the expanded registration and reporting requirements is to better understand how and how much water is being used in Wisconsin. This information will then be used by WDNR and others to continue to develop Wisconsin’s Water Use program. 


For more information on whether WDNR’s announcement will affect your property or industry, please contact the authors.
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