Major Water Users
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. All major water users are required by law to register water use annually.
Missouri shares water resources with many other states, some of which regulate water use and have already established their demand for water. It is important for Missouri to document our need for water and to protect our right to that water. Registering major water use establishes a user's need for water and helps the department understand the water needs of Missouri citizens. The major water users data will:
- Provide important information required for technical assessment of current and future requirements for the regulation of water
- Help the department gain foresight on water supplies
- Help apply conservation measures during periods of limited or diminishing supplies of water
- Help the department when determining where to locate stream and reservoir gauges as well as groundwater level observation wells
Water shortages can have severe and expensive consequences. Adequate water supplies are vital not only to human health and safety, but also to the prosperity of our state. Whether it is for crop irrigation, industrial manufacturing or power generation, water is at the core of human existence and sustainability. A few decades ago, the supply of water in Missouri was considered virtually unlimited. As population and industry have increased, a need for statewide water planning has emerged. No meaningful water planning can be performed without accurate accounting of water use.
Our enhanced online application is now available. Please use the link below to register annual water use online as the preferred method.
Printable, Fillable Registration Forms
Fill in forms will accept only a limited amount of information in each individual box. If you need to insert more information than the form will accept, please use a supplemental sheet.
- Major Water Use Registration – MO 780-2019
- Major Water Use Registration for Mines and Quarries – MO 780-2020
If you have questions about registering as a major water user, please contact the department's Water Resources Center. We are happy to help.
Missouri Water Resources Center
PO Box 250, Rolla, MO 65402
There are no state laws, regulations or policies that specify the quantity of water that any diverter may use. Missouri is a riparian water law state, and all landowners touching or lying above water sources have a right to a reasonable use of that water. Recent case law has established the reasonable use criteria that the Missouri Supreme Court has been following. Reasonable use requires that other users and landowners not be overly impacted in an adverse manner. The department published a summary of Missouri Water Laws to provide more information on the subject.
If you would like to request Major Water User data, please visit the Sunshine Request page.