Aggregate Water Reporting - June 10th, 2019

Individuals are invited to report their water usage anytime between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Monday, June 10, 2019 at the Mercer County Farm Bureau building located at 206 SE 3rd St in Aledo.  Refreshments will be available throughout out the day.  Please let us know if you plan to report your water usage through the Farm Bureau by Friday, June 7th by calling (309) 582-5116.

Before you report your water usage at the Farm Bureau, you must complete the following steps…

  1. Go to the ISWS website and register each of your water wells.  You can download the form and email it to ISWS, or you can print and mail a paper copy through the mail.  I have included a copy of the form with this letter. Please bring a copy of the registration form with you. If you registered your wells last year, you don’t have to do it again this year.
  2. ISWS will assign your well an ID #. 
  3. Use the forms available on the ISWS website to estimate your water usage data for each of your wells.
  4. Bring your record sheets to the Farm Bureau on June 10th. 

The ISWS website is http://go.illinois.edu/IrrigationWaterUseReporting

At the Aggregation Meeting, we will add your water usage with other wells in your reporting zone.  The total usage, along with a list of wells included in the total, will be submitted by the Soil and Water Conservation District to the ISWS.

Background Information

In 2010, the Illinois Water Use Act was amended to require reporting for all high-capacity water wells or intakes in Illinois, including agricultural irrigation. The Act gave agricultural irrigators five years to comply.  Starting with the 2015 growing season, irrigators are required to report their water use from both wells and surface water intakes to the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS).  A high capacity well/intake is defined as a single point of withdrawal or a series of points that together pump more than 70 gallons per minute.  If you have a well that is rated at 70 gallons per minute or higher, regardless if you pumped any water, you are required by law to report your usage to the ISWS.

The Water Use Act also allows for agricultural water users to “aggregate” their data, as well as use estimation methods for their water usage calculations.  The Illinois Farm Bureau and the Mercer County Farm Bureau share the opinion that it is in the best interest of farmers to aggregate their data.  As the ISWS is a government agency, the individual water use data you report is subject to public disclosure and Freedom of Information Act requests.  By aggregating your water data with other farmers, you will gain some anonymity and privacy of your usage.

Here is some information on Mercer County’s track record in reporting:

  • Number of wells/intakes listed by aggregate: 28 wells in 2015, 21 wells in 2016, 23 wells in 2017  
  • Irrigated acres reported by aggregate: 4,016 acres in 2015, 2,858 acres in 2016, 3,024 acres in 2017
  • ISWS count of pivots/county:  2014 estimate: 123 pivots
  • ISWS estimate of acres in center pivot irrigation: 2014 estimate: 12,941 acres
  • Estimated % of irrigated acreage reported by aggregate: 2015: 31%, 2016: 22%,  2017: 23%

If you have additional questions regarding water reporting, registering your well, or aggregation, please contact the Mercer County Farm Bureau office at 309-582-5116.