Information on Agricultural Water Use in Maine
Water Management Planning
Whenever you begin to look into starting or expanding irrigation on your farm, start with developing a water management plan. A plan, on paper, will help you understand your water needs, timing of water use, and the size of the storage or well capacity you may need.
We strongly suggest
you review the NRCS resource, a sample draft management plan, which
has a good template to follow when developing your own water management plan. You can enlist the help of your local
NRCS office, or contact us at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (email Jessica Nixon) for assistance. For larger projects, you may want to consider
contacting a consultant.
Permitting New Sources of Water
a pond or drilling a new well must start with a water management
plan, and with a trip to the USDA-NRCS office and Maine Department of Environmental Protection office or
Land Use Planning Commission office if you are in LUPC jurisdiction.
Why? Because most likely you will be impacting a wetland or be close
to a wetland, intermittent stream, etc. If you schedule an appointment
with those agencies at the start, they can guide you through what
you may need for a permit and the timeline for getting a permit. Visit the NRCS for steps you through the process for permitting a pond,
if a wetland is impacted. You can contact us at the Department to
also help guide you. You
may not need a permit in all situations. A number of sites, even
with a wetland involved, may be exempt from the need for a permit. Army
Corps of Engineers oversees all wetland permitting for Maine.
Status of Water Supplies in Maine
A good place to find out the current status of water supplies in Maine can be found at the U.S. Geological Survey.
A number of good sites give you up to the minute information on weather. One of them is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Drought Management Task Force
MEMA brings you to the State's drought management committee and important information about the current drought situation.
Cost Share Grant and Loan Programs
The two major programs that help with funding water sources and equipment upgrades are the USDA-NRCS Agricultural Management and EQUIP programs (Start with your local Conservation District Office) for new source development. Both have deadlines for applications.