Reporting Water Use to Change Soon

The State Journal
11 December 2014
By Mandi Cardosi, Government Reporter

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is continuing to work on getting 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 this year to include a lower reporting threshold, which will require additional water users to report withdrawals along with collection of monthly data.

The revision also is a result of the passage of Senate Bill 373, the “water and aboveground storage tank” bill.

Starting Jan. 1, 2015, the reporting threshold will be 300,000 gallons withdrawn from surface or groundwater sources in a 30-day period.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 the 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. The annual surveys must include the actual monthly water use. In previous years, Large Quantity Users (LQUs) could certify their water use was within plus-or-minus 10 percent of the quantity reported the prior year.

The DEP will send letters to all existing LQUs and entities identified as potential new LQUs to notify them of the changes. Included with the letters will be directions to locate and download the revised water use survey forms for the 2015 reporting year.

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in a 30-day period, but also continues to include any entity that bottles water for resale, regardless of the quantity withdrawn.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 the 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 is ultimately with each water withdrawing entity. Any Large Quantity Users that have not registered must complete a registration form.

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. The forms and instructions for filling them out may be found at