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Water Quantity Management

Permit applications may be completed using forms available online.

Drought Management

DEC and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) are partners in evaluating hydrologic conditions across New York State.

Data evaluated to determine drought conditions:

  • Stream discharge
  • Water levels
  • Precipitation, and
  • Data from water-quality monitors

This information and additional information from other federal, state, and local agencies is used by DEC and the State Drought Management Task Force to evaluate regional conditions to determine drought stages. USGS tracks current hydrologic conditions (leaves DEC website).

Water Withdrawal Permits and Reporting

The Water Resources Law (ECL Article 15, Title 15 - leaves DEC website) was updated in 2011 to protect New York's waters, including the Great Lakes, by requiring a DEC permit for any type of non-agricultural water withdrawal system having the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day (GPD) or more of surface water or groundwater. The final implementing regulations (6 NYCRR Part 601 - leaves DEC website) became effective April 1, 2013.

The law also requires statewide registration of existing agricultural withdrawals that are greater than 100,000 GPD (30 day average) and interbasin diversions of more than 1,000,000 gpd of water or wastewater from one major drainage basin to any other drainage basin.

Please note that the new law eliminated and incorporated Titles 16 and 33 of the old law. Title 16 was "Great Lakes Water Conservation and Management". Title 33 was "Water Withdrawal Reporting"

The law covers the following areas:

  • Non-Agricultural Water Withdrawal Reporting and Permitting
  • Agricultural Water Withdrawal Reporting, Registration and Permitting
  • Water Well Contractor Program
  • Drought Information
  • Water Conservation including a Water Conservation Manual
  • Interbasin Diversions and Registration
  • Long Island Well Program

Water Withdrawals in Kings, Queens, Nassau, & Suffolk Counties

Wells drilled in Kings, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties are administered through the Long Island Well Program (6 NYCRR Part 602 - leaves DEC website). The Long Island Well Program regulates water withdrawals for any purpose, other than public water supply, when the total capacity of such a well or wells on one property is over 45 gallons per minute (GPM) (64,800 GPD). This includes wells for domestic supply, agriculture, irrigation, open loop geothermal systems, temporary or permanent dewatering wells, and others. Public Water Supply, surface water withdrawal systems, and dewatering systems that do not use well points but have the capacity to withdraw 100,000 GPD or more are regulated through the Water Withdrawal Program (6 NYCRR Part 601 - leaves DEC website).

Water Well Contractor Program

ECL § 15-1525 (leaves DEC website) requires any business conducting "water well drilling activities" to register annually with DEC before doing business anywhere within the New York State.

Drillers and pump installers are required to:

  • Complete exam certification through the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) Certification exam
  • Register as a NYS Water Well Contractor
  • Notify DEC prior to commencing drilling a water well
  • File a well completion report upon completion of the well


The preservation and protection of water resources is vital to New York's residents and businesses, who rely on these resources for drinking water supplies and to support agriculture, manufacturing, and other industries and recreation in the State. Aquatic and terrestrial flora and fauna are also dependent on these critical resources to maintain healthy populations. Pursuant to ECL Article 15, Title 15 (leaves DEC website), DEC has been entrusted with the responsibility to conserve and control New York State's water resources for the benefit of all inhabitants of the State.

Interbasin Diversions & Registration

An interbasin diversion is a transfer of water or wastewater from one major drainage basin to any other drainage basin. New York State has 17 major drainage basins (PDF) identified by various US Geological Survey (USGS) Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUC), a standardized watershed classification system developed by the USGS)

Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin

Diversions of any quantity from the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin are prohibited by the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (PDF), as enacted in ECL Article 21 Title 10. Limited exceptions for public water supply systems may be considered when in compliance with the Compact as set forth in 6 NYCRR Part 601.10(n) (leaves DEC website).

All Other Basins

Outside of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin, interbasin diversions in New York State that are in excess of an average of 1,000,000 gallons per day must be registered with DEC (PDF) in accordance with 6 NYCRR Part 601.18 (leaves DEC website). No registration is required If the diversion is already operating as part of a water withdrawal permit from the DEC or the Delaware River or Susquehanna River Basin Commissions. A new or increased interbasin diversion will not be approved if it results in a significant adverse impact on the water quantity in the major drainage basin that is the source of the diversion and from which waters are diverted.

Annual Renewal of Interbasin Diversions

Renewals of interbasin diversions registrations shall be submitted by March 31 of each year.

Transfer of Ownership

Interbasin diversion registrations must be obtained within 60 days of transfer of ownership of the facilities which create an interbasin diversion.

Information Required for Interbasin Diversion Registration

In order to be deemed complete, an interbasin diversion registration or renewal requires the following information:

  1. The information requested on the Interbasin Diversion Registration Form (PDF)
  2. General map. Maps shall be USGS topographic maps, or equivalent, and must indicate the location of the withdrawal, the diversion, and the discharge or return flow. The map shall include the line of divide between New York major drainage basins, and the locations of all inter-connecting pipelines, canals, streams or tunnels.
  3. Engineering report signed and stamped by a New York State registered Professional Engineer. The Engineering report shall contain the following information:
    1. a general description and the engineering features of the existing or proposed interbasin diversion;
    2. a listing of all related Departmental permit applications or permits;
    3. a description of the amounts of water or wastewater diverted on a daily, monthly and annual basis; and
    4. an evaluation of the impacts of the diversion on the quantity of water in the New York major drainage basin that is the source of the diversion and from which waters are diverted.
  4. Annual Water Withdrawal Reporting Form completed for the previous calendar year. Reporting forms are available for agricultural water withdrawals and for non-agricultural withdrawals.

For more information, please review the regulations for interbasin diversions (leaves DEC website).

More about Water Quantity Management:

  • Water Withdrawal Permits and Reporting - The law requires any water withdrawal system with a capacity of 100,000 gallons per day or more to obtain a permit and send annual reports to the Department.
  • Agricultural Water Withdrawals - Visit Agricultural Water Withdrawals for more information on agricultural withdrawals, registration, permitting, and reporting.
  • Forms and Tools for Water Withdrawal Permit Applications - Use the forms on this webpage to file an application for a water withdrawal for any type of facility including agricultural withdrawals. Also find information on conducting groundwater and surface water studies for water withdrawal applications.
  • Water Well Contractor Program - The NYS Water Well Driller Registration Law, as amended by the NYS Legislature in July 1999, requires any business conducting water well drilling activities to register annually with NYSDEC before doing business anywhere within the State of New York. Filing of preliminary notices and completion reports are also necessary. Licensing exams are required.
  • Drought - Current drought conditions, definition, stages and watershed-based drought management regions.
  • Water Use & Conservation - Information regarding water use and savings in New York State.