Act 135. Surface Water Withdrawal Registration and Reporting

New State Law Requires those withdrawing surface water to register and report water usage beginning 2023

A new state law, Act 135 of 2022 (full text; summary), requires any person withdrawing ‘surface water’ (as defined in 10 V.S.A. § 1002 (20)) to register with and report the water withdrawal and usage to the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VDEC) beginning January 1, 2023. The purpose of the registration and reporting program is to collect baseline information on surface water use to fill the existing information gap in the state. All Vermonters and sectors withdrawing water are advised to register their water withdrawal and begin record keeping of water withdrawn. 

To register your water withdrawal with VDEC a form (online) will be provided by January 1, 2023.  Information required for the registration under the new law is provided below. It is important to note that registration program for water withdrawal will be open throughout year for those that meet or exceed the threshold (See below). 

Surface water withdrawals required to register are also required to file an annual report of their actual surface water use with VDEC the following year. The first such report will be due to the VDEC on January 15, 2024. The information required in the annual report is described below. It is advised that those withdrawing surface water begin record keeping starting January 1, 2023.

Surface water withdrawals that are used for fire suppression or other public emergency purposes are not required to register and report use. Additionally, surface water withdrawals that report under the following sections of law are not required to register or report under the new law. This includes surface water withdrawal reporting under 10 V.S.A. Chapter 41 Subchapter 3 – Water Withdrawals for Snowmaking and surface water withdrawals approved pursuant to 10 V.S.A. Chapter 56 – Public Water Supply and the rules adopted for public drinking water supply. Additionally, surface water withdrawals for irrigation for farming, and livestock watering or other uses for farming as defined in 6 V.S.A. § 4802 are required to report to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets (Act 135 of 2022: Farm surface water reporting program | Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets (vermont.gov)).

VDEC is committed to deploying the education, outreach, and technical assistance resources needed to help answer questions of surface water users about the new law and their responsibilities. Contact information is included below.

Surface Water Withdrawal Registration (10 V.S.A.§ 1042(a))

  • Any person withdrawing 10,000 gallons or more of surface water within a 24-hour period, or 150,000 gallons or more over any 30-day period shall register with VDEC

Information Required to Register a Surface Water Withdrawal

  1. the location of each water withdrawal, including each impacted surface water;
  2. the frequency and rate of each water withdrawal (gallons per minute);
  3. a description of the use or uses of the water to be withdrawn;
  4. the capacity of the system to be used for the withdrawal; and
  5. a schedule for the withdrawal

The surface water withdrawal registration form will be made available online by VDEC by January 1, 2023.

Surface Water Withdrawal Reporting (10 V.S.A. § 1042(b)

  • A person required to register a surface water withdrawal pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 1042(a) shall file an annual report with VDEC;
  • Reports shall be filed annually by January 15 of the year following withdrawal;
  • Methods for reporting withdrawals
    • For water withdrawals of between 10,000 and 50,00 gallons of surface water within a 24-hour period or 150,000 gallons or more of surface water over any 30-day period, a person shall either provide an estimate or provide meter data of the total water withdrawn.
    • For withdrawals of 50,000 gallons or more of surface water within a 24-hour period or 1,500,000 gallons or more of surface water over any 30-day period, the person shall provide meter data or measured data by a technically appropriate method approved by VDEC.

Information Required for the Annual Surface Water Withdrawal Report

  1. the total amount of water withdrawn each month;
  2. the location of each withdrawal, including each impacted water;
  3. the daily maximum amount of water withdrawal for each month;
  4. total number of hours water was withdrawn for each month

Informational Resources

Program Contact:

Jeff Crocker, Supervising River Ecologist
Vermont Department of Environmental
Watershed Management Division/River Program
1 National Life Drive, Davis 3
Montpelier, VT 05620 – 3522
1-802-490-6151 (cell)
Jeff.Crocker@vermont.gov