New York's waters and the Great Lakes will be better protected by regulations requiring a state permit for the withdrawal of large volumes of the state's water.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has finalized these regulations, and they will be effective April 13, 2013. The regulations limit water withdrawals greater than 100,000 gallons per day and expand the water withdrawal permitting program to include withdrawals for purposes beyond public water supply, such as those for commercial, manufacturing and industrial activities.
"Governor Cuomo signed this legislation to foster responsible conservation practices and economic growth while protecting water bodies and wildlife habitats," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. "The regulations will allow the state to protect the environment while promoting economic growth and addressing droughts."
The permitting process will ensure a continued water supply to existing municipal, agricultural and industrial users and will help identify areas that could support new water-dependent businesses. Specifically, the regulations require approval before operating or proposing a system with the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons or more per day of surface and groundwater.
The first set of permit applications is due on June 1, 2013. The regulations are being issued now so businesses will have adequate time to comply. DEC will collaborate with stakeholders on implementation and conduct outreach to guide applicants.
Permits will not be required for new public water supply systems with the capacity to withdraw less than 100,000 gallons per day. However, all smaller withdrawals for public water supply will still need to comply with water pollution control laws, state Department of Health regulations and state environmental quality review (SEQR) requirements, as applicable.
Some withdrawals are exempt from permitting. For example, agricultural withdrawals that were properly registered or reported to DEC on or before Feb. 15, 2012, need only to continue to annually register and report these withdrawals.
Implementing a permitting, registration and reporting program for water withdrawals of 100,000 gallons per day or larger also implements New York's commitment under the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact to create a regulatory program for water withdrawals in the Great Lakes Basin.