The 2011 agricultural large volume water use reports are due to Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) by April 1, 2012. MDA has been hard at work developing an on-line report form but has decided to use a paper system for 2011 reports. A group of irrigators along with state agency representatives have tried a prototype of the on-line reporting system this fall and had many good things to say about its use in Michigan water use reporting in the future. The system should promote more accuracy and help eliminate duplicate reporting along with less net cost to the state.

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 required for all agricultural water uses (irrigation, cooling, animal, watering, etc.) from both surface and ground water withdrawals. All non-agriculture related water use reports are sent to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Generic forms will be sent from MDARD in December. Keeping a copy of each year’s report for your files is very important and reduces reporting errors.

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. Large volume water users need to make sure latitude/longitudes are correct for their pumping site. Inaccurate coordinates have resulted in many situations of duplication with in the reporting system. As MDARD works to computerize the large volume water user reporting system the duplications become obvious and detrimental to the system accuracy. Use of the groundwater mapping websitehttp://gwmap.rsgis.msu.edu or http://www.miwwat.org/ can help water users verify and correct latitude/longitude coordinate issues.

Estimating water use can be accomplished by several methods:

  • water application multiplied by # of applications, plus 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)

MDARD will mail a form to their current list of large volume water users by mid-December and should post electronic versions of the form at: http://www.michigan.gov/mdard use the water use reporting button on the right to obtain the reporting packet.

For information on estimating water use for irrigation/livestock, forms, or other large volume water use requirement can be found at: http://www.msue.msu.edu/stjoseph follow the irrigation button on the left hand side of the screen.