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Agriculture

Illinois irrigators required to report water usage

BLOOMINGTON — The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) is now requiring Illinois irrigators to report their water usage to the state.

The requirement stems from the Illinois Water Use Act, which was amended in 2010 to make reporting for all high capacity wells or intakes mandatory in Illinois, including agricultural irrigation.

"This is a new requirement that many of our irrigators may not be familiar with,” said Lauren Lurkins, director of natural and environmental resources, Illinois Farm Bureau. “Under the amended law, irrigators were given five years to comply. Irrigators must report their water usage for the first time by the end of the 2015 calendar year, and we’ve been working with the ISWS to provide our farmers with all the options and information possible.”

Under the amended law, high capacity irrigators are required to report their water use from both wells and surface water intakes, as well as the location of each well and intake. Irrigators may either provide an actual number of gallons pumped, if they’re using a flow meter, or estimate their water withdrawals using a method approved by the ISWS.

All reporting forms, as well as water withdrawal estimation methods, can be found on the ISWS website at http://www.sws.uiuc.edu/gws/iwip/irrigation/. A handbook with additional information and guidance also can be found on the website.

Additionally, the ISWS will allow both individual and aggregate water reporting. For more information on reporting water use in the aggregate, contact the Bureau County Farm Bureau to add your name to the aggregate list for Bureau County.

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