Water use permits

Requirements

  1. Well Construction Preliminary Assessment
     
    Preliminary approval is required before drilling a well that will be used to withdraw more than 10,000 gallons of water per day or 1 million gallons per year. To apply for a Well Construction Assessment, please use the MNDNR Permitting and Reporting System. If you are using MPARS for the first time, you will need to create an account. Once created, click on the link in the Actions box called "New Well Construction Assessment".

    MPARS is the easiest and most convenient method for most people to request a well assessment, and allows for faster response times. If it is not possible for you to apply online, a paper form may be downloaded by clicking the link below.
  2. A water use (appropriation) permit from DNR Waters is required for all users withdrawing more than 10,000 gallons of water per day or 1 million gallons per year.

    There are several exemptions to water appropriation permit requirements:
    • domestic uses serving less than 25 persons for general residential purposes,
    • test pumping of a ground water source,
    • reuse of water already authorized by a permit (e.g., water purchased from a municipal water system), or
    • certain agricultural drainage systems (check with your area hydrologist for applicability).
       
  3. A permit to appropriate or transport any amount of infested water is required to take and transport water from a designated infested water, even if the amount of water to be taken is less than the amount that triggers a water use permit. Applications for these permits are reviewed and issued through the DNR Invasive Species Program.

Water Appropriation Permit Application Forms

To apply for a water appropriation permit, please use the MNDNR Permitting and Reporting System. If you are using MPARS for the first time, you will need to create an account. Once created, click on the link in the Actions box called "Apply for a New Permit/Authorization". You will be billed separately (usually $150) for the application fee. Please note that Minnesota Statutes allow local units of government 30 days to review permit applications and submit comments to DNR Waters.

open MPARS

Apply for water permits and well construction preliminary assessments, request changes to existing permits, and report annual water use using MPARS.

open MPARS

MPARS is the easiest and most convenient method for most people to apply for water appropriation permits.  If it is not possible for you to apply online, paper application forms may be downloaded by clicking the links below.  Please note that the use of paper forms may not offer the efficiency or speed of the MPARS online process, and may result in the need for more follow-up with DNR staff to obtain needed information.

Chemigation permit information can be found at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Web site. See: Chemigation permit information.

Infested Waters Diversion or Transportation Permit Application

To apply for a permit to appropriate, divert, or transport water from designated infested waters, download and print the following application form or request that a form be sent to you by mail. Complete the form furnishing all requested information and supporting documents. Submit the application per the instruction on the form. There are no fees for this permit. Minnesota Rules allow up to 90 days for the Department to act upon the permit application.

Permit Application Form to download and print:

Temporary Projects General Permit 1997-0005

This general permit authorizes temporary water appropriations for construction dewatering, landscaping, dust control, and hydrostatic testing of pipelines, tanks, and wastewater ponds.

To be included under General Permit 1997-0005 the project must meet the following criteria:

  • Projects must have a minimal potential for causing adverse environmental impacts,
  • Water appropriations cannot exceed 50 million gallons per year,
  • Water appropriations must be completed within one year from the start of pumping,
  • Prior authorization to use General Permit 1997-0005 must be obtained by submitting an application using the MNDNR Permitting and Reporting System;
  • Records of monthly water appropriation volumes must be maintained and submitted to the Department on or before February 15th of the year following water use using the MNDNR Permitting and Reporting System. A $140 water use fee will be charged for projects that exceed 15 million gallons.

A recent law change requires that applicants seeking authorization under general permits pay a $100 fee for each use of that permit (some exemptions apply). This nominal fee will be used to support permitting and the protection of Minnesota's water resources.

For more information please download the following packet of information which includes the complete text of the permit language:

Animal Feedlots and Livestock Operations General Permit 2004-0275

This general permit authorizes groundwater appropriations up to 5 million gallons per year for livestock watering and sanitation purposes.

To be included under General Permit 2004-0275, animal feedlots and livestock operations must comply with all conditions and limitations of the permit and meet the following criteria:

  • Operations must have a minimal potential for causing adverse environmental impacts;
  • Water appropriations cannot exceed 5 million gallons per year;
  • Prior authorization to use General Permit 2004-0275 must be obtained by submitting an application using the MNDNR Permitting and Reporting System;
  • Records of monthly water appropriation volumes must be maintained and submitted to the Department on or before February 15th of the year following water use using the MNDNR Permitting and Reporting System;
  • Animal feedlot and livestock operations must be in compliance with all feedlot rules and regulations required by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and county feedlot programs.

A recent law change requires that applicants seeking authorization under general permits pay a $100 fee for each use of that permit (some exemptions apply). This nominal fee will be used to support permitting and the protection of Minnesota’s water resources.

For more information please download the following packet of information which includes the complete text of the permit language:

Water Use Reporting

All active water appropriation permit holders are required to measure monthly water use with an approved measuring device to an accuracy of 10 percent and report water use yearly. Permittees are encouraged to use MPARS to report annual water use data. This system provides many benefits including automatically calculating total volumes and fees. Water use reporting and processing fees are due by February 15 of each year.

If you are unable to report using MPARS, please request a paper form by sending an email to mpars.dnr@state.mn.us or calling 651-259-5678.

Water Use Fees

Water Level Monitoring

Permits may include requirements that water levels be measured and reported to DNR Waters. Electronic forms for reporting the water level measurements from wells and surface water are available through the links below. Use these forms to record and save the water level measurements. Completed forms can be e-mailed to the DNR Data System Coordinator at intervals specified on each permit. Paper copies of these forms are available upon request.

Permit Amendments

Permit holders must request to amend their permits if changes are made to their water systems, including:

  • number of installations (wells, pumping stations),
  • pumping rate,
  • volume of water required, or
  • number of acres irrigated or irrigated area.

All amendment requests should be submitted using the MNDNR Permitting and Reporting System. A $150 fee will be charged for most amendments, subject to the fee exemptions listed below.

Transfers

Requests for transfers of permits to new land owners should be submitted using the MNDNR Permitting and Reporting System. You will need to know the name of the new owner, their contact information, and the date of the sale or transfer.  A $150 fee will be charged subject to the fee exemptions listed below.

Termination

Permit holders who no longer require their water use permits should request termination using the MNDNR Permitting and Reporting System. A fee is not required to terminate a permit. However, annual water use reports and fees are due for each year in which a permit was active. Please use the MPARS system to report annual water use.

Fee Exemptions

Minnesota Rules 6115.0120 state the following amendment or transfer fee exemptions:

  • a change in mailing address;
  • a change of authorized agent when land ownership has not changed;
  • an assignment of a permit within the immediate family;
  • a change in pump location on surface water sources for the same operation;
  • an addition of a new well that replaces an old well for the same permitted operation and that is completed at a similar depth in the same aquifer;
  • a decrease in the permitted pumping rate, amount of water authorized, or irrigated acreage;
  • an increase in the permitted pumping rate within 10 percent;
  • an increase in the permitted appropriation within ten percent of the annual authorization for non-irrigation permits; and
  • an increase of less than 30 acres in the number of permitted irrigated acres.

Minnesota Statutes 103G.301 state the following permit application, amendment, and transfer fee exemptions:

  • any state agency, as defined in section 16B.01, or federal governmental agency

Permit Suspensions Due to Dry Conditions

In order to safeguard water availability for natural environments and downstream higher priority users, Minnesota law requires the DNR to limit consumptive appropriations of surface water under certain low flow conditions. Should conditions warrant, DNR Waters may suspend surface water appropriation permits as determined by its Surface Water Appropriation Permit Issuance and Suspension Procedures This is a PDF document; Adobe Acrobat needed to download it..

 

Discussion of conditions that can lead to permit suspensions: