Water use fees
DNR collects water use fees to help sustainability manage water quantity and water quality in the state.
Revenue from water use fees is used to:
- document and monitor water use through the registration and reporting requirements;
- implement the Great Lakes Compact through water use permitting and regulating diversions of Great Lakes water;
- help communities plan for water supply needs;
- build a statewide water conservation and efficiency program; and
- develop and maintain a statewide water resources inventory.
Annual Water Use Fee Requirements
Any person who has a registered withdrawal from surface water or groundwater with the capacity to withdraw an average of 100,000 gallons per day or more is required to pay water use fees.
The information on this page can also be found in the Fee Fact Sheet.
The annual base fee for one property is $125 and applies statewide. Fees are assessed per property, not per individual well or water source. For example, if a property has three capacity wells and one surface water, the $125 fee will be assessed once for that property. If the property is not contiguous, wells and surface water sources owned by the same person will be assessed separate $125 annual fees.
One property is defined in NR 850.03(3), Wis. Adm. Code, as "all contiguous land controlled by one owner, lessee, or any other person having a possessory interest. Lands under single ownership bisected by highways or railroad right-of-ways are considered contiguous."
Great Lakes Basin Fee
An additional fee is assessed for persons withdrawing more than 50 million gallons per year from surface water or groundwater within the Lake Michigan or Lake Superior basins. Use the Surface Water Data Viewer to view the location of your property.
The fee is based on an increasing block structure. The Great Lakes Basin fee increases as the withdrawal amount increases. The Water Use Fee Calculator includes the base fee and the Great Lakes Basin specific fee.
You will receive an invoice from the DNR after you submit your annual water withdrawal reports. Invoices are due annually by June 30. Online payment is available; however, you need to know your invoice number and billed amount. Contact the Water Use Program if you need a new copy of your invoice or invoice number.
Small Business Fee Cap
The annual fee is capped at $9,625 for any one property or single public water supply. However, the annual fee per property for a small business, as defined in s. 227.114(1), Wis. Stats., in the Great Lakes Basin is capped at $1,125 ($125 base fee plus $1,000 Great Lakes Basin fee). If your business qualifies as a small business under s. 227.114(1), Wis. Stats., please complete the Water Use Fee Cap Certification for Small Business (Form 3500-117) and return to the Water Use Program:
Water Use Section DG/5
PO Box 7921
Madison WI 53707-7921
For help estimating your Great Lakes Basin fee requirement, review the table on page two of the Water Use Fees Fact Sheet
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