A. General. The Department shall issue a permit only for a beneficial appropriation or use under the following criteria:
(1) The amount of water to be appropriated is reasonable in relation to the anticipated level of use during the permit period;
(2) The requested appropriation or use does not have an unreasonable impact on:
(a) The waters of the State, and
(b) Other users of the waters of the State.
B. Criteria for Determining Reasonableness.
(1) Except for applications proposing to appropriate or use water for agricultural purposes, the Department, in determining the reasonableness of a proposed appropriation or use, may consider, when appropriate, the following factors:
(a) The protection of existing water uses, land values, investments, and enterprises; and
(b) The financial hardship of requiring a new user to bear the loss of potential harm as provided in §D(1) of this regulation.
(2) In determining the reasonableness of a proposed appropriation or use, the Department shall consider, when appropriate, the following factors:
(a) The purpose of the use;
(b) The suitability of the use to the watercourse, lake, or aquifer;
(c) The extent and the amount of the harm it may cause;
(d) The practicality of avoiding the harm by adjusting the proposed use or method of use of the applicant or another permittee;
(e) The practicality of adjusting the quantity of water used by each permittee;
(f) Aggregate changes and cumulative impact that this and future appropriations in an area may have on the waters of the State;
(g) The contribution that the proposed appropriation may make to future degradation of the waters of the State;
(h) Whether the proposed appropriation or use is located within a water management strategy area;
(i) The ability of a well or spring to sustainably yield the requested amount of the appropriation; and
(j) Whether the proposed appropriation in Carroll, Frederick, or Washington County will provide groundwater:
(i) To a municipal corporation, not including those areas annexed after January 1, 2000; or
(ii) To a priority funding area established on or before January 1, 2000, under State Finance and Procurement Article, §5-7b-02(7), Annotated Code of Maryland.
C. Special Criteria for Issuance of Surface Water Appropriation or Use Permits.
(1) Except for permits issued for the appropriation and use of water for agricultural purposes, the Department may condition approval of a surface water appropriation or use permit on the permittee's provision of low flow augmentation to offset consumptive use during low flow periods to protect other users of the water and to protect the resource.
(2) A surface water appropriation or use may be conditioned on the maintenance, by the permittee, of a required minimum flow past the point of appropriation to protect other users of the water and to protect flora and fauna within the watercourse.
(3) Surface water appropriated or used for non-industrial heating or cooling shall be returned to the watercourse or lake from which it was appropriated.
(4) If the Department determines that a proposed appropriation from a surface water source would unreasonably harm the resource or other users of the resource, the Department may deny the permit and advise the applicant to file a new application for an appropriation from a different source.
D. Special Criteria for Issuance of Ground Water Appropriation or Use Permit.
(1) Except for applicants proposing to appropriate or use water for agricultural purposes, if an applicant intends to appropriate ground water in unprecedented quantities for purposes not common to a locality, and the appropriation would cause harm to other users by lowering the water table or potentiometric surface below a level which would render the users' wells unusable, the Department may condition the issuance of the ground water appropriation or use permit on payment by the permittee of the cost of improving neighboring facilities or on mitigation of the impact on nearby users.
(2) The Department may not issue a ground water appropriation or use permit if the proposed withdrawal of ground water will directly and substantially affect a watercourse or lake and thereby cause unreasonable harm to a person entitled to the use of water from the affected watercourse or lake.
(3) The Department may not issue a ground water appropriation or use permit for an appropriation from a confined aquifer if the appropriation, either by itself or in combination with existing appropriations, will exceed the sustained yield of the aquifer.
(4) The regional sustained yield potentiometric surface of a confined aquifer may not be lowered below 80 percent of the drawdown available between the top of the aquifer and the historical prepumping level of the potentiometric surface. In this regulation, "regional" means an area in which water is appropriated or used from multiple wells located in a common source, or that location which, as a result of the appropriation, is 50 percent of the distance from a single well to a point where the potentiometric surface is lowered 1 foot, and has stabilized.
(5) The permittee may not place a submersible well pump or water intake part of a well pump lower than the top of the confined aquifer from which the water is being withdrawn.
(6) Appropriation from an Unconfined Aquifer.
(a) The Department may not issue a water appropriation or use permit in excess of 5,000 gallons per day as an average annual use from an unconfined aquifer, unless the Department finds that the appropriation is sustainable by recharge to the aquifer.
(b) Priority may be given to public water systems requesting special consideration under Environment Article, §5-501(b), Annotated Code of Maryland, as outlined in Application for Water Allocation: Guidance Document for Public Water Systems Providing Water to Municipal Corporations or Priority Funding Areas in Carroll, Frederick, and Washington Counties (June 2014).
(7) The Department may not issue a ground water appropriation or use permit to an applicant proposing to appropriate ground water for a housing subdivision located west of the fall line, if the water is to be obtained from individual wells on each residential lot where the average lot size is less than 1 acre.
(8) The Department may not issue a ground water appropriation or use permit if the proposed appropriation will cause or contribute to the intrusion of saltwater into a freshwater aquifer.
(9) The Department may not issue a ground water appropriation or use permit for non-industrial heating or cooling unless the ground water is returned to the aquifer from which it is withdrawn.
(10) The Department may not issue a permit for a new appropriation or an increase to an existing appropriation of water from a well which draws water from more than one confined aquifer.
(11) If the Department determines that a proposed appropriation from an aquifer would unreasonably harm the aquifer or other users of the aquifer, the Department may deny the permit and advise the applicant to file a new application for an appropriation from a different aquifer.