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Water Withdrawal means the actual removal or take of water from any stream, watercourse or other body of public water.  Permits or authorizations are required for any water withdrawals of 10,000 gallons per day or more of public water of the Commonwealth. Public water of the Commonwealth is defined as water occurring in any stream, lake, ground water, subterranean water or other body of water. Permits or authorizations may be required for withdrawals made on an irregular basis and at an irregular rate if a significant portion of the available water is withdrawn or if data and information collection is necessary to make a determination.

Choose a topic below for more information.

Permits or authorizations are NOT required for the following:

  • Withdrawals of less than 10,000 gallons per day
  • Use of water for agricultural and domestic purposes including irrigation
  • Production of steam generating plants of companies whose retail rates are regulated by the Kentucky Public Service Commission
  • Water injected underground in conjunction with operations for the production of oil or gas
Other than these exemptions, state laws prohibit withdrawals from waters of the Commonwealth without a permit or authorization. Withdrawals made without permits or authorizations are subject to penalties provided in KRS 151.990.

Water withdrawal applications should be made four to six months prior to proposed withdrawal initiation except for emergencies. Applications should be submitted in either electronic or paper format. Submit one (1) copy of the application and attachments to:

Watershed Management Branch
Division of Water
300 Sower Blvd, 3rd Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601 
or
Rita.Hockensmith@ky.gov


At this time, there are no required application fees.

Per 401 KAR 4:300, within 30 days after receipt of an application the Cabinet will determine whether it is administratively complete. The Cabinet will issue a written notice of deficiency for any applications determined to be incomplete. After an application is determined to be administratively complete, the Cabinet will proceed with a technical review. If the Cabinet determines any section of the application to be technically incomplete, a letter containing a comprehensive list of specific deficiencies will be sent to the applicant. An application will not be considered complete until all requested information is received. If the missing information is not provided within 30 days, the Cabinet may return or deny the application. The technical review timeframe will be 90 calendar days after receipt of an administratively complete application.

All permitted or authorized withdrawals will have associated recording and reporting requirements that must be submitted via Monitoring Results Submittal and Water Withdrawal Report Forms. If facilities select the paper copies option, then they will be sent copies of Monitoring Results Submittal Forms and Water Withdrawal Report Forms for the months they are permitted and required to record and report withdrawals. Facilities that select the paper copies option are required to submit by the 15th of each month and sent to the following address:

Watershed Management Branch
Division of Water
300 Sower Blvd, 3rd Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601 
or
Rita.Hockensmith@ky.gov

If facilities select the electronic submittal option, they will be required to register on the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection Electronic Submittals website.  Registration and usage of this website is free. Facilities that select the electronic submittal option are also required to submit by the 15th of each month. We strongly urge facilities to select this option. Facilities applying for authorizations will be sent paper copies of Monitoring Results Submittal Forms and Water Withdrawal Reporting Forms.

Recording and reporting requirements are identified and outlined in the conditions of every water withdrawal authorization and permit. Additional recording and reporting of withdrawals and hydrological conditions may be also required on a case‐by‐case basis. Failure to record and report may result in revocation of the permit or authorization and penalties provided in KRS 151.990.


Application for a permit or authorization proposing water withdrawals of 10,000 gallons per day or more. Applications should be made four to six months prior to proposed withdrawal initiation with the exception of emergencies.

This form should be submitted to rescind a water withdrawal permit. The form will be reviewed, and if complete, an official acknowledgement letter will be issued. The permittee will be contacted if further information is needed.

​For more information contact:

Chloe Brantley
Environmental Control Supervisor
502-782-6898

Edward “Chip” Zimmer
Environmental Scientist
502-782-7141

Rita Hockensmith
Resource Management Analyst
502-782-6975