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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 New York State ( ).  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 (2015) 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, 2017.

All other farms using freshwater for agricultural purposes at a monthly average rate of fewer 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.

This year the calculator has been modified to use “Typical Meterological Year” data in the estimation of cow water consumption, rather than reported values for each particular year.  The difference between using typical and year specific climate data should produce negligible differences in farm total water consumption and will allow the calculator to be used for subsequent years without waiting for climate data updates.  By using Typical Meterological Year data we were also able to expand the number of climate data sites from 5 to 19 to provide more options for finding a weather station that best represents the climate of the farm.


 The DEC water use reporting form can be downloaded from their website at:

Some users have reported difficulty opening the current DEC water use reporting form.  DEC is aware of the issue and it seems to be related to users who have the Chrome browser.  One workaround is to save the linked file to your computer (right click on the link and select "Save Link As").  Then open Adobe reader (should be listed under your program files).  Once Adobe reader is open, select "File" and then "Open" and then select the saved water use form.  It should now open correctly. For assistance filling out the form please contact Richard Kruzansky,, 518-402-8182.

Please download the current water use calculator from the following link:

In previous years, the form could be automatically completed by the Calculator  However, due to the new DEC form, users will have to transfer values from the Calculator to the form manually.  Once the form is completed it can then be submitted electronically or printed and returned to NYSDEC by US mail.  Farms should discuss business confidentiality issues with their legal advisors.

The DEC reporting form is designed for a broad range of users and asks for information that many dairies are unlikely to have ready access to.  Producers are encouraged to answer as completely as possible and to do the best they can when there are information gaps.

For further assistance in Enabling the Use of Macros in MS Excel (required for the Water Use Calculator) please read the following.

Questions regarding the DEC reporting form may be directed to Mr. Richard Kruzansky, NYSDEC (, or call 518-402-8182).

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

Technical questions on using this water use calculator may be directed to PRO-DAIRY’s Tim Shelford (