For Immediate Release
Jeff Crocker, Supervising River Ecologist
Department of Environmental Conservation
Montpelier, VT (December 28, 2022) – Starting January 1, 2023, there are new requirements for registering and reporting surface water withdrawals or removals to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in accordance with a new state law, Act 135 of 2022. Surface waters include rivers, streams, brooks, creeks, lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. The purpose of Act 135 is to collect baseline information about surface water usage in Vermont.
“We rely on surface water for uses such as drinking water, recreation, and industrial uses, as well as to support wildlife habitat and water quality. With climate change, we don’t always know when or how much it will rain,” said DEC Commissioner John Beling. “Act 135 allows us to not only better understand water usage but also ensure enough water is available statewide.”
Any person withdrawing 10,000 gallons or more of surface water within 24 hours – or 150,000 gallons or more over 30 days – must register with DEC. To register and report withdrawals, Vermonters can fill out a form online. Surface water users will also need to file an annual report for their actual surface water use by January 15, 2024.
Those who withdraw surface water for farming uses like irrigation or livestock watering must report to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets. Under Act 135, Vermonters are not required to register and report use for some surface water withdrawals, such as those used for public emergencies or to suppress fire.
“The timing, frequency, duration, and size of high and low water flow events change how surface waters like streams look and work,” said Supervising River Ecologist Jeff Crocker. “Such changes can degrade habitat, lead to water quality issues, and impact the use of surface waters for recreation and other uses.”
DEC offers resources, education, outreach, and technical assistance to surface water users to help answer any questions about the new law. Interested parties can view the full text or read a summary of Act 135.
The Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for protecting Vermont's natural resources and safeguarding human health for the benefit of this and future generations. Visit dec.vermont.gov and follow the Department of Environmental Conservation on Facebook and Instagram.
Pump withdrawing water from a small stream in Chittenden County.
Staff from the Agency of Natural Resources inspect a water diversion on the Flint Brook in Roxbury.