Susquehanna River Basin Commission

Gwyn Rowland
Manager, Governmental & Public Affairs
(717) 238-0423 ext. 1316

Susquehanna River Basin Commission
4423 N. Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110-1788

Phone: (717) 238-0423 ext. 0
Fax: (717) 238-2436


Search News:

printer friendly
4423 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
November 2, 2017
Gwyn W. Rowland, Manager, Governmental and Public Affairs
Office: (717) 238-0423, ext. 1316

Susquehanna River Basin Commission Announces Grandfathered Water Uses Registration Program

HARRISBURG, Pa. – In a recent study that compiled all available data to characterize Basin-wide water use and availability, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission estimated that there are possibly more than 700 facilities exempt from oversight, with an estimated water use of nearly one billion gallons per day. If accurate, this volume of water use is roughly equal to the total amount currently accounted for, and managed, by the Commission across the entire Basin. Due to the outcomes of this study, the Commission has become concerned about the availability of water to meet immediate and future needs of residents, businesses and industry.

With such large quantities in question, the Commission decided to develop a program that would close this significant knowledge gap regarding exempt water use (also known as grandfathering) to ensure the Commission’s ability to effectively manage the water resources of the Basin.

Under this new program, facilities must register their grandfathered withdrawals and consumptive water uses by Dec. 31, 2019, to preserve the facility’s exemption from any permit approval in the future. Letters are being sent to contacts throughout the Basin informing them of the registration program and offering assistance in determining if the registration program applies to their facility.

“As the demand for water resources increases, it is imperative that we protect existing water sources and manage shared resources for the economic, social and ecological benefit of the entire Basin,” stated Andrew Dehoff, P.E., executive director. “We look forward to working with all large water users to help carry out our crucial mission.”

Currently, certain older surface water and groundwater withdrawals and consumptive water uses that exceed the Commission’s regulatory thresholds do not require approval to operate if those activities pre-date applicable regulations and cause no environmental harm. Generally, the following water withdrawals and uses are considered to be grandfathered:

  • consumptive water uses initiated prior to Jan. 23, 1971;
  • groundwater withdrawals initiated prior to July 13, 1978; and
  • surface water withdrawals initiated prior to Nov. 11, 1995.

The Commission is incentivizing early registration by offering a free registration period from Jan. 1 through June 30, 2018, after which a $500 registration fee (July 1 through Dec. 31, 2018) or $1,000 registration fee (all of 2019) will apply.

The Commission will conduct informational webinars to explain the registration program on Nov. 14 and Dec. 13, 2017. For additional information, visit

About the Susquehanna River Basin Commission

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission is a federal/interstate governmental agency responsible for protecting and wisely managing the water resources within the 27,500 square-mile Susquehanna River Basin without regard to political boundaries. The Susquehanna rises and flows through New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland into the Chesapeake Bay. For more information on the Commission, visit or follow us on Twitter: @SRBCnews.