Water Resources Program fact sheet
Missouri Geological Survey Director: Carey Bridges, RG


What is a Major Water User?

Any surface or groundwater user with a water source and the equipment necessary to withdraw or divert 100,000 gallons or more per day (70 gallons per minute) from any stream, river, lake, well, spring or other water source is considered a major water user in Missouri. Additionally, any user who operates a combination of withdraws (wells, surface water pumps or diversions) that together withdraw or divert 100,000 gallons or more per day (70 gallons per minute) also qualifies as a Major Water User. 

I have several wells that pump less than 70 gallons per minute, but when combined, they pump more than 70 gallons per minute. Am I a major water user?

Yes. By the definition of the law, any surface or groundwater user that has the capacity to withdraw or divert 70 gallons per minute or more from any water source is a major water user. For example, if you have four wells, each with the maximum capacity to withdraw 20 gallons per minute, the combined total of the four wells equals 80 gallons per minute, thus qualifying you as a major water user. Use the online reporting tool to estimate water use

Our corporation has facilities in several counties. Should each facility report as a separate Major Water User?

Yes. Each facility is a separate major water user and should report annual water use separately.

How much surface water or groundwater can I take from a water withdrawal point?

There are no state laws, regulations or policies that specify how much water may be used. Missouri is a riparian water law state. This means all landowners touching or lying above water sources have a right to a reasonable use of those water resources. Recent case law has established the reasonable use criteria the Missouri Supreme Court has been following. Reasonable use requires other users and landowners not be overly adversely impacted.

Are there any fees associated with registering as a Major Water User or reporting annual water use?

No fees are assessed to register as a Major Water User or to report annual water use.

Reporting and Registration

How often is Major Water User registration required?

Registration is a one-time activity required by law for all major water users. Registration is required to obtain a Major Water User identification number, which is needed to report water usage. Once you are registered as a Major Water User you can add, delete or transfer water withdrawal points. Register and report online, annually.  

When is annual reporting due each year?

Annual reporting is completed Jan. 1 through March 31 for the previous calendar year. For example, water used between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2018, should be reported between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2019. Note: To provide water use information for previous years, contact Water Resources Center staff at 573-368-2175 or 573-368-2192.

Can I submit my annual water use data online?

Yes. Submitting your report via email is recommended to increase efficiency and accuracy. The same form used to register as a Major Water User is used to report annual water use. Forms may be used, but the preferred method for reporting is by using the online reporting tool

What should I do if the data on the forms I received is incorrect?

Please review all data for accuracy. If changes are necessary, please indicate the correct information on the form and return the form to us.

What will happen if I do not submit my water use data?

Failure to report may result in referral to the Missouri Attorney General.

Why does the state collect this data?

Water use data is vital for making sure water use needs are met. In order to determine whether existing water resources will be adequate to meet future water use demands of Missouri citizens, we must know how much water is being withdrawn annually.

Do other states have similar requirements for water use registration?

Yes. Most states have a water use registration such as Missouri, or they have water rights/water allocations program.

What is my Major Water User identification number?

This 8-digit identification number is unique to each Major Water User. One or more surface or groundwater withdrawal points will be associated with this number.

Who reports water use if a water source is used by someone other than the owner?

The owner always is responsible for reporting water use. The water user may or may not be the property owner.

How do I report additional wells or withdrawal points?

Report additional wells using forms located online, or contact us at the address below to request additional forms.

Is reporting required for mine and quarry operations?  

Entities pumping water from mines and quarries shall only be required to report the quantity pumped from the mine or quarry at each point where it is pumped to the point of discharge, and the name of the stream into which any discharge is permitted to flow. 

The preferred method for reporting is by using the online reporting tool. However, printed registration and reporting forms can be faxed to 573-368-2193 or mailed to:

Missouri Geological Survey
Missouri Water Resources Center
PO Box 250
Rolla, MO 65402-0250

Nothing in this document may be used to implement any enforcement action or levy any penalty unless promulgated by rule under chapter 536 or authorized by statute.

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