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Water use registration

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To withdraw or a withdrawal means the taking of water from surface water or groundwater including springs, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams and the Great Lakes. There are many different methods for withdrawing water including wells, intake pipes and ditches. When someone withdraws water, it is taken out of or redirected from its natural course making it unavailable for other purposes, even if only temporarily. If you have questions about whether your water use is a withdrawal, please contact the Water Use Program (608-266-2299).

Withdrawal Registration Requirements

You must register a water withdrawal if you have a water supply system (e.g. well or surface water intake pipe) with the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day (70 gallons per minute).

There are only two exemptions to this requirement.

  1. Withdrawals to supply vehicles for the needs of the persons or animals being transported or for ballast or other needs related to the operation of the vehicles.
  2. Temporary withdrawals for firefighting, humanitarian or emergency response purposes.

Register Your Withdrawal

To register a property, complete the following form:

A separate registration form must be completed for each property with a water supply system meeting the withdrawal requirements. One property means all contiguous land controlled by one owner or lessee, or any other person having a possessory interest.

Each registered property is assigned a unique property number by the Water Use Program. Property numbers can be found on the Water Withdrawal Reports (Section 1), or by using the Water Use query tool.

Important Things To Know

  • New or increased withdrawals must be registered prior to beginning to withdrawal.
  • You may need a water use permit if you are withdrawing water in the Great Lakes Basin.
  • You may also need a permit from the DNR Waterways Protection Program if you are withdrawing water from a river, stream or flowage for the purpose of agriculture, irrigation or for maintaining the natural flows in a waterway.

More information is available in the following fact sheets.

Terminate Your Registration

To terminate a registration, the connection between the water source(s) and the water supply system(s) must be physically eliminated or reduced in size permanently to a capacity of less than 100,000 gallons per day (70 gallons per minute).

High capacity wells

To terminate your registration for high capacity wells, you must either:

  1. Install a smaller pump — complete and submit a Termination of Water Withdrawal Registration (Form 3300-271) [PDF]; or
  2. Properly fill and seal the well — complete and submit a Well Filling and Sealing Report. Your registration will be terminated if the total water withdrawal capacity from your property is less than 100,000 gallons per day.

Surface Water Withdrawals

Termination of surface water withdrawals may require filling channels and removing water control structures. Complete and submit Termination of Water Withdrawal Registration (Form 3300-271) [PDF].

What Happens After Termination

The termination of a withdrawal registration for a property may result in the termination of the following:

  • high capacity well approval;
  • Chapter 30 permit;
  • withdrawal baseline (for those properties in the Great Lakes Basin);
  • water use permit (for those properties in the Great Lakes Basin); and
  • water use gees obligation.

Any "grandfathered" provisions associated with the old withdrawal will no longer be in effect.

If in the future you wish to increase the capacity of a water supply system to greater than 100,000 gallons per day you will be considered a new withdrawer and will have to meet all current regulations.

This may include obtaining a new withdrawal registration, a new water use permit and a new high capacity well approval (if you are installing a well) or Chapter 30 permit (if you are withdrawing from a lake or river).

Transfer Your Registration of an Existing Property

New owners of properties with existing high capacity wells or a Chapter 30.18 permit to withdraw water may request to have these approvals transferred to them by completing the following form:

A new owner may also use this form to transfer a property's Water Use Registration and General Water Use Permit to them.

Important Note: If the new owner(s) of the land associated with a prior Chapter 30.18 permit do not own the exact same riparian land as the original 30.18 permit holder, the permit cannot be transferred and the new owner(s) will have to apply for a new 30.18 permit. Application materials can be found on Waterways Protection Program at the bottom of the page.