West Virginia’s Water Resources Protection and Management Act (“the Act”) was amended in 2014 to include a lower registration and reporting threshold for water withdrawals and to require monthly data collection regarding water use. These new requirements take effect on January 1, 2015.
The Act requires all “Large Quantity Users” to register annually with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (“WVDEP”). As amended earlier this year, the Act defines a Large Quantity User as any person (including any individual, public or private business, or governmental entity) who withdraws more than 300,000 gallons of surface water or groundwater in any 30-day period, as well as any person who bottles water for resale regardless of the quantity withdrawn. Previously, the threshold for registration was 750,000 gallons of water per 30-day period.
In addition, the Act requires all Large Quantity Users to collect data regarding the amount of water withdrawn during each calendar month and to report that data to WVDEP on an annual basis. This requirement takes effect on January 1, 2015. All Large Quantity Users must report their monthly water use data for 2015 to WVDEP by March 31, 2016. (This new requirement does not apply to water withdrawal data for the year 2014, which must be reported to WVDEP by March 31, 2015).
Pursuant to the Act, any person who fails to register with WVDEP, fails to report monthly water use to WVDEP, provides false or misleading information on the registration form or water use report, or fails to provide other information required by the Act may be subject to a civil administrative penalty of up to $5,000 (and additional penalties every 30 days thereafter if the violation continues).
The registration forms and instructions for Large Quantity Users are available on WVDEP’s web site at http://www.dep.wv.gov/WWE/wateruse/Pages/Instructions%20and%20Forms.aspx. According to a recent WVDEP announcement, the revised water withdrawal reporting forms for 2015 will be available on WVDEP’s web site at a later date. You can read the full text of the Water Resources Protection and Management Act on the WV Legislature’s web site at http://www.legis.state.wv.us/WVCODE/ChapterEntire.cfm?chap=22&art=26.
This article was authored by Jennifer Hughes, Jackson Kelly PLLC. For more information on the author, click here.