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Water Withdrawal Facilities Registration Program

Program Overview

The Water Withdrawal Facilities Registration Program, as established in H.B. 662 by the Ohio General Assembly in 1988 implements one of the objectives of the Great Lakes Charter in Ohio.  The Great Lakes Charter serves as a good-faith agreement among governors and premiers of the Great Lakes states and provinces to establish a regional approach to Great Lakes Water resources management programs.  Water withdrawal facility registration is also a requirement of the Great Lakes Water Resources Compact, a binding agreement among the eight Great Lakes States.  Ohio has enacted the Compact into law (Ohio Revised Code Section 1522.01).

The drought of 1988 raised many concerns about water use and management in Ohio. Many communities and businesses sought alternative water sources to supplement depleted supplies. Also, conflicts and questions arose in the competition for a limited water resource. The state did not have adequate information to assist everyone seeking additional water. Without the knowledge of water withdrawals in an area, state officials risked referring water withdrawers to a source of water already limited by current demands.

The ground water stress areas legislation, signed in April of 1990, gave the Chief of the Division of Water the authority to designate an area as a ground water stress area and establish a threshold withdrawal capacity for the area in terms of water withdrawal registration. Thus, any person who withdraws water at a rate greater than a specified threshold (for example, 10,000 gpd) in a ground water stress area would be required to register the facility with the Chief of the Division of Water. Registration is not intended to regulate use of ground water, but only to gather additional information for resolving conflicts and guiding or advising new users. Annual reports must also be submitted for these facilities.

Ohio Revised Code

Section 1521.16 of the Ohio Revised code requires any owner of a facility, or combination of facilities, with the capacity to withdraw water at a quantity greater than 100,000 gallons per day (GPD) to register such facilities with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Water. The Water Withdrawal Facility Registration (WWFR) Program provides information of great importance to the citizens of the state. Water, one of our most basic and precious natural resources, needs to be studied more intensely and water resource planners need reliable information to plan for the future. The state's economy depends on water and economic development will continue to place increased demands on this critical resource.

Water Withdrawal Reporting

 Any facility that is registered with the Division of Water Resources must complete and submit an annual report of all water withdrawn in a calendar year.  Reports must also be submitted even if no water was withdrawn. This reporting applies to ground water withdrawals, surface water withdrawals or any combination of the two.  These reports are due by March 1st of each year.