Water Use Reporting

On August 15th, 2011, Governor Cuomo signed a law that updates water use reporting and permit requirements for users of large volumes of water in NY ( Agricultural Water Withdrawals ).  NYSDEC indicates that the reporting of water usage provides them with needed information to manage the state’s water resources.  The law has a provision that waives reporting fees for agricultural users.  It also exempts some agricultural water users from reporting and clarifies obligations for other farms.  The bottom line:

Agricultural water users withdrawing an average of 100,000 gallons or more of water per day in any month during the previous year (2013) from any combination of groundwater and surface freshwater sources are required to register their water withdrawals with NYSDEC; this year the deadline is March 31st, 2014.

All other farms using freshwater for agricultural purposes at a monthly average rate of less than 100,000 gallons of water per day for all months are exempt from reporting.

Water use on a dairy farm depends on many factors, most notably: number of animals, level of milk production, size of milking center and other areas cleaned with fresh water, use of a milk pre-cooler and/or summer cooling of cows (sprinklers), and, for some cases, irrigation of crops. 

For farms with multiple sites, generally, locations that are contiguous or that share water supplies should aggregate water use for reporting purposes, while non-contiguous sites should estimate water use separately.  Farms solely on public water supplies are NOT required to register because their water use will be reported by the municipal water provider.

Because it can be difficult to accurately estimate water use for many dairy operations, the PRO-DAIRY Environmental Systems Group developed this Calculator for use by farmers and their advisors.  The Calculator has been reviewed and approved for use by NYSDEC.  The Calculator can be used to estimate a farmstead’s water use (barns, milking center, etc.) and also has provisions for entering in other uses of water on the farm such as crop irrigation.  Based on inputs by the user, the Calculator estimates the average daily water use for each month.  While the estimating formulas were developed for Holstein water consumption, Jersey cow water consumption is close enough that in the overall calculation of water usage should not be significantly affected.

General questions on water use reporting may be directed to PRO-DAIRY’s Karl Czymmek (kjc12@cornell.edu, or call 607-592-2634) or Curt Gooch (cag26@cornell.edu, or call 607-255-2088).