Water Appropriations Permits for Livestock Producers in Minnesota

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In response to frequent inquiries from livestock producers about Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) water appropriations permit rules and guidelines, the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center (MAWRC) has developed a simple fact sheet to help answer many of the most common questions, and point farmers toward additional agency resources.

Minnesota statutes require all water users withdrawing more than 10,000 gallons per day or more than one million gallons per year to obtain a water appropriation permit from the DNR. While this permit requirement has been in place for more than a decade, the DNR had done little to publicize the requirement. In recent months, livestock producers have begun receiving letters from the DNR notifying them of the requirement.

One of the first questions for many livestock farmers – how many animals does it take to consume one million gallons of water per year? Estimating water use can be very difficult, so our fact sheet incorporates information from the University of Minnesota which has previously been used by the DNR to determine permit thresholds. The MAWRC’s fact sheet can be found here.

Livestock farms using more than one million but less than five million gallons of water annually can apply for a simplified general permit for a one-time fee of $100. Those using more than five million but less than fifty million gallons must obtain an individual permit, which costs $150, and pay an annual water use fee of $140. All water permit holders are required to report water use annually to the DNR. For more information, please go to this website.

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