Ohio farmers and related businesses that are withdrawing large amounts of water from streams, ponds, lakes or groundwater are encouraged to register and report their water usage to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) so that they will be “grandfathered” prior to the effective date of the newly signed Great Lakes Compact implementing legislation.
Legislation signed earlier this year brings Ohio into compliance with the multi-state compact prohibiting new or increased diversions of water resources from the Great Lakes Basin to areas outside of the basin. Now that the bill is law, attention has shifted to making sure anyone who withdraws surface or groundwater in Ohio has registered their use with ODNR.
“The intent is to protect the valuable resource we have for use within the basin, and for the states to have control over it,” said Larry Antosch, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) senior director of policy development and environmental policy.
“If you’ve been using water and you haven’t registered with the ODNR and you are not part of the 2009 baseline report, make sure they have a record of your past water usage by March 2, 2013 even if it is slightly below the 100,000 threshold,” he said.
According to Antosch, the registration requirements are for farms and businesses that withdraw larger amounts of water. Due to the small withdrawal volume, the typical homeowner with well water would not be affected and would not need to register.
Antosch said someone who installs a pump with a capacity of 69.5 gallons per minute will be over the registration threshold. Once registered, an annual report of water withdrawals must be submitted. If no water was withdrawn, the report will still have to be submitted indicating zero water use for the year.
Considering current drought conditions, Antosch said some may be contemplating withdrawing water or installing an irrigation well. If completed before March 2, this should also be registered.
If an unregistered water user goes over the threshold, Antosch said they would have to go through the review process of the compact to continue or begin use.
OFBF continues to work to adopt state laws and regulations promoting water quality and maintaining access to Ohio’s water resources for navigation, commerce, fishery and recreation through sound science and the protection of private property rights, including the right to reasonable use.
OFBF has represented agricultural interests in the Great Lakes Compact since 2001.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Register water use http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/tabid/20441/Default.aspx#WWFR Forms
Read details of the Great Lakes Compact