The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is working to get the word out about two new requirements related to large water withdrawals from surface or groundwater sources. The state Water Resources Protection and Management Act was amended in 2014 to include a lower reporting threshold, which will result in additional water users having to report withdrawals; and a requirement that monthly data be collected.
Effective Jan. 1, 2015, the reporting threshold will be 300,000 gallons withdrawn from surface or groundwater sources in a 30-day period. The previous reporting threshold was 750,000 gallons per month. The new threshold brings West Virginia in line with the water withdrawal reporting requirements of most surrounding states.
Also effective in January, anyone withdrawing at that 300,000-gallon threshold or higher must begin collecting water use data for each month so the data can be included in a survey submitted to the DEP’s Water Use Section of the Division of Water and Waste Management on an annual basis. These annual surveys, completion of which is mandatory under the act, must include the actual monthly water use. In previous years, Large Quantity Users (LQUs) could certify that their water use was within plus-or-minus 10 percent of the quantity reported the prior year.
The DEP will soon be sending letters to all existing LQUs and also to entities identified as potential new LQUs to notify them of these changes. Included with these letters will be directions to locate and download the revised water use survey forms for the 2015 reporting year.
It’s important to note that the LQU classification going forward includes not only any water users who withdraw 300,000 gallons or more in a 30-day period, but also continues to include any entity that bottles water for resale, regardless of the quantity withdrawn. Excluded from this classification is water designated for farm use, including watering livestock or poultry on a farm, though farms are encouraged to voluntarily report water withdrawals to assist with the accuracy of the survey. Entities that purchase water from a water provider also are not considered LQUs.
Because the agency cannot identify and contact every potential new LQU, the responsibility to report at the new 300,000-gallon threshold ultimately rests with each water withdrawing entity.
The 2015 monthly data must be reported by March 31, 2016. The 2016 monthly data and each subsequent year’s monthly data must be included in an annual survey submitted to the agency by March 31 of each following year.
Persons participating in the LQU survey and registration shall provide the most accurate information available on monthly water withdrawals and future potential maximum withdrawals. Actual withdrawal amounts shall be established through metering, measuring or alternative accepted scientific methods to obtain a reasonable estimate or indirect calculation of actual use. Although metering of the withdrawal is not specifically required, it is the preferred method for determination of monthly withdrawals.
If you are a Large Quantity User and have not registered, you must complete a registration form. The forms and instructions for filling them out may be found online at:
If you need more information, consult the Water Use Section pages of the DEP website at: http://www.dep.wv.gov/WWE/wateruse/Pages/default.aspx. You may also contact Water Use Section Manager Brian A. Carr at 304-926-0499, ext. 1757, email@example.com or DEP.firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are no changes to the reporting requirements for the 2014 surveys, which are due by March 31, 2015.
For more DEP news and information, go to www.dep.wv.gov. Also, be sure to connect with the agency on all social media platforms. Follow @DEPWV on Twitter and find us on YouTube by searching “Environment Matters.” For specific information about the Adopt-A-Highway, West Virginia Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), West Virginia NonPoint Source and Youth Environmental programs, connect on Facebook.