Since the passage of the Alabama Water Resources Act in 1993, ADECA’s Office of Water Resources has been collecting and developing the information and data needed to better understand our water usage, trends and future needs.
This information is essential in our efforts to ensure that we adequately prepare and plan for future population and economic growth while maintaining the quality of life unique to Alabama.
This effort involves various programs, initiatives and coordination with a wide range of federal, state, regional and local organizations as well as a broad cross section of stakeholders. Our efforts are focused in three major activities:
- Administering the Alabama Water Use Reporting Program and compiling data and reports associated with water use and trends;
- Assessing the state’s water resources to ensure that supplies are adequate to meet future demands; and
- Coordinating with other agencies and interest groups to address water management issues and evaluating enhancements to existing programs.
However, fundamental to all these efforts is the collection of baseline water use data. That is the goal of the Alabama Water Use Reporting Program.
The key aspects of the Alabama Water Use Reporting Program (and its associated management application, eWater) involves the registration of water users around the state and the collection of annual water use data. The data generated as a result of these annual reports is used to compile the most comprehensive database of water use in Alabama.
In addition to the annual collection of water use data, OWR also provides periodic, more comprehensive assessments of Alabama’s water resources. For example, in partnership with the USGS, OWR has worked to expand the Alabama component of the National Water Census. The water census is a compilation of national water use conducted every five years. Since 2005, these summaries have provided water use estimates at both the county and eight-digit hydrologic unit code (HUC) subbasin level. OWR has published reports with estimates of water availability as well. The most recent report was published in 2019 but all the reports are accessible from the Publications, Reports, and Information page.
Alabama Water Use Reporting Program
All public water systems and those other individuals and organizations who have a capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day or more are required to register with OWR and obtain a Certificate of Use.
The process begins with the submittal of an application form (called a “Declaration of Beneficial Use”) and other required information. Once that information is reviewed and determined to be complete, OWR will issue what is called a Certificate of Use that lists the individual or organization’s name and information concerning all registered surface and/or groundwater withdrawal points and their withdrawal information. Then annually the certificate owner submits water usage information back to OWR.
Temporary Diversions or Withdrawals of Water
If an entity would otherwise be required to obtain a Certificate of Use but the withdrawal or diversion is only for a temporary use, it may be eligible for an exemption. This is typically the case for hydrostatic testing of utility pipelines and other short term activities. However, before beginning any temporary withdrawal for a particular use, entities must contact OWR and submit the following information:
- The specific location(s) where any water withdrawals and discharges will take place (latitude and longitude if possible)
- The start date, duration, and anticipated completion date of the activity
- Whether the withdrawal involves groundwater or surface water
- The pumping capacity at the point of withdrawal
- The estimated volume of water that will be used
- The name and contact information for a point of contact
The information requested above is needed to ensure compliance only with OWR requirements. It is the responsibility of every individual or entity to coordinate with other state or federal agencies (i.e. the Alabama Department of Environmental Management or the US Army Corps of Engineers) prior to the withdrawal of water to ensure compliance with other state or federal requirements.
Phone: (334) 242-5499 | Toll free: (877) ALA WATER
Fax: (334) 242-0776