Agricultural Water Withdrawals
For the purposes of the water withdrawal regulations, agricultural facilities include: farming for crops, plants, vines and 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.
As explained below, depending on several factors, agricultural facilities may be required to register, report on usage, or apply for a water withdrawal permit (groundwater, surface water, or a combination).
Photo by Keturah Stickann/John Menier
(from Creative Commons)
Registration of Existing Agricultural Water Withdrawals
- a water withdrawal system was being operated for agricultural purposes on February 15, 2012, with a cumulative withdrawal for a single parcel or proximate parcels equal to or in excess of an average of 100,000 gallons per day ("threshold volume") in any thirty day consecutive period (3 million gallons during a 30 day period); AND
- prior to February 15, 2012 water usage was registered or reported to NYSDEC.
Please note that the above threshold definition for agricultural facilities is different from that for non-agricultural facilities. Non-agricultural facility threshold volume is based on capacity per day rather than an agricultural facility's actual withdrawal during a 30 day period.
Annual registrations are due by March 31st of each year.
Important: If an agricultural facility is withdrawing the agricultural threshold volume defined above and was not already registered and reported by February 15, 2012, then the facility must acquire an agricultural withdrawal permit. Examples of this situation include facilities that failed to report by the 2012 date; or unregistered facilities that were below the threshold volume in the past and recently increased withdrawal; or new facilities.
Water withdrawal applies to both surface water and groundwater.
Annual Reporting of 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All agricultural facilities that have withdrawn groundwater or surface water equal to or in excess of an average of 100,000 gallons per day in any thirty day consecutive period (3 million gallons during a 30 day period) must file an Agricultural Water Withdrawal Report with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on an annual basis.
Annual reports are due by March 31st of each year.
Permits for Agricultural Facilities
- A permit is not necessary for withdrawals for agricultural purposes that were registered or their annual water usage reported 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.
- Finally, a permit is required for any new agricultural facility that meets the threshold volume.
Forms are available online for all permit applications.
Poorly maintained or abandoned wells are a danger to groundwater. The Department recommends that such wells be properly decommissioned. Please go to the Water Well Decommissioning Procedures page to learn more.
More about Agricultural Water Withdrawals:
- Agricultural Water Withdrawal Registration - All agricultural water withdrawals greater than 100,000 gallons per day must register annually.
- Agricultural Water Withdrawal Annual Reporting - All agricultural water withdrawals greater than 100,000 gallons per day must be reported annually to DEC.
- Agricultural Permits for New or Increased Water Supplies - All new or increased agricultural water withdrawals greater than 100,000 gallons per day must apply for a DEC water withdrawal permit unless it was previously reported to DEC prior to February 15, 2012.
- Decision Tree for Agricultural Permits - Use this tree to help determine if a permit is needed for your agricultural facility.
- How To Estimate Agricultural Water Withdrawal - How to Estimate Agricultural Water Withdrawals