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Agricultural Water Withdrawals

All facilities withdrawing water for agricultural purposes equal to or in excess of an average of 100,000 gallons per day in any 30-day consecutive period (3 million gallons during a 30-day period) ("threshold volume") must file an annual report (PDF) with the DEC by March 31 of each year.

The water withdrawal regulations (6 NYCRR Part 601 - leaves DEC website) define "agricultural purposes" as: "farming for crops, plants, vines, trees, and the keeping, grazing, or feeding of livestock for sale of livestock or livestock products, and the on-farm processing of crops, livestock, and livestock products". Note that multiple non-contiguous parcels of land under the ownership or control of the same person are generally considered to be one agricultural facility.

To determine whether you must apply for a water withdrawal permit view the water withdrawal permitting decision tree (PDF).

Important: If an agricultural facility is withdrawing the agricultural threshold volume defined above and did not report prior to February 15, 2012, then the facility must obtain an agricultural water withdrawal permit.

As explained below, depending on several factors, agricultural facilities may be required to report usage or apply for a water withdrawal permit.

Permits for Agricultural Facilities

Photo of farmland and farm buildings
Photo by Keturah Stickann/John Menier
(from Creative Commons)
  • A permit is not necessary for an agricultural facility that registered by reporting their annual water usage prior to February 15, 2012. These existing withdrawals are only subject to the annual reporting and registration requirements.
  • A permit is required for any agricultural facility that did not register or report usage prior to February 15, 2012, and withdraws water equal to or in excess of an average of 100,000 gallons per day in any thirty-day consecutive period (3 million gallons during a 30-day period).
  • A permit is required for any exempted or permitted agricultural facility planning to increase its capacity and meets the threshold volume and plans to increase its capacity or add a new source.
  • A permit is required for any new agricultural facility that meets the threshold volume.

Forms are available online for all permit applications.

Annual Reporting for Agricultural Facilities

All agricultural facilities that have withdrawn groundwater or surface water equal to or in excess of an average of 100,000 gallons per day in any 30-day consecutive period (3 million gallons during a 30-day period) must file an Agricultural Water Withdrawal Report with DEC on an annual basis. Water use, both surface and groundwater, must be reported by completing the Agricultural Water Withdrawal Reporting Form (PDF). This form does not work with the "Chrome" internet browser. Please submit via email.

Annual reports are due by March 31 of each year.

Nassau & Suffolk County Agricultural Water Withdrawals

Wells drilled in Nassau and Suffolk Counties with a capacity of over 45 gallons per minute (64,800 gallons per day) for the purpose of agriculture are regulated under the Long Island Well Program (6 NYCRR Part 602 - leaves DEC website). For more information, forms, and application procedures, visit the Long Island Water Withdrawals webpage.

Abandoned Wells

Poorly maintained or abandoned wells are a danger to groundwater. DEC recommends that such wells be properly decommissioned. Visit the Water Well Decommissioning Procedures webpage to learn more.