As the year comes to a close, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is seeking annual reports on surface water use. Under the newly enacted Act 135 of 2022, any person withdrawing surface water must file an annual report with DEC by January 15, 2024. The purpose of Act 135 is to collect baseline data on the use of surface waters such as rivers, streams, brooks, creeks, lakes, ponds, and reservoirs.
Vermonters can fill out an online form to register and report withdrawals of 10,000 gallons or more of surface water within 24 hours or 150,000 gallons or more over 30 days.
“Vermonters rely on surface waters for drinking water, recreation, and industrial uses, as well as to support wildlife habitat and water quality,” said DEC Commissioner Jason Batchelder. “These annual reports help us track water usage and ensure that enough water is available statewide.”
Those who withdraw surface water for farming uses like irrigation or livestock watering must report to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets. Vermonters do not need to report usage for some surface water withdrawals, such as those used for public emergencies or to suppress fire.
“High and low water flow events can transform how surface waters like streams look and work,” said Supervising River Ecologist Jeff Crocker. “These events can have major impacts not only on wildlife habitat and water quality but also on recreation and other surface water uses.”
DEC offers resources and technical assistance and can help answer any questions about Act 135 or streamflow protection. If Jeff Crocker is not available at 802-490-6151 or Jeff.Crocker@Vermont.gov, contact Betsy Simard at 802-585-8189 or Betsy.Simard@Vermont.gov.