March 31, 2016, is the deadline for large quantity water users to report water withdrawals from West Virginia surface or groundwater sources to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). 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. There is also a new requirement that monthly data be collected.
On Jan. 1, 2015, the new reporting threshold became 300,000 gallons withdrawn from surface or groundwater sources in a 30-day period. The data collected in 2015 is required to be reported to the DEP between Jan. 1, 2016, and March 31, 2016.
Anyone withdrawing at that 300,000-gallon threshold or higher must report water use data for each month so the data can be included in an annual survey submitted to the DEP’s Water Use Section of the Division of W ater and Waste Management. 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.
It’s important to note that the Large Quantity User (LQU) classification now 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in a 30-day period, but also continues to include any entity that bottles water for resale, regardless of the quantity withdrawn.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. If your company or facility is a LQU, you must register your water usage under state law. The 2015 monthly data must be reported by March 31, 2016. This is an annual requirement.
Facilities 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.
Instructions on how to electronically complete the large quantity user survey and submit it via DEP’s Electronic Submission System (ESS) can be found at this link: http://www.dep.wv.gov/WWE/wateruse/AnnualCertification-LargeQuantityUsers/Documents/LQU%20Survey%20Instructions%20-%20All%20Users.pdf
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 the Water Use Section LQU Coordinator Dale Biller at 304-926-0499 x1479 or email@example.com.