Groundwater Management Areas
Minnesota’s use of groundwater has increased over the last two decades. An increasing reliance on groundwater may not be a sustainable path for continued economic growth and development. The DNR is establishing three pilot groundwater management areas (GWMA) to help improve groundwater appropriation decisions and help groundwater users better understand and plan for future groundwater needs associated with economic development.
The three areas include: the North and East Metropolitan Region, which includes all of Ramsey and Washington Counties, and the southern portion of Anoka County; the second area includes the Straight River, near Park Rapids; and the third area includes portions of Pope, Stearns, and Kandiyohi counties, known as Bonanza Valley, which includes the towns of Glenwood, Brooten, Belgrade, Elrosa and other communities.
Clean Water Funds are used to hire project managers, meeting facilitators and support stakeholder engagement to inform and advise the planning process.
About the Issue
Water is crucial to Minnesota’s economies and ecosystems. Minnesota has a well-deserved image of having abundant water resources, nevertheless, water is not evenly distributed across the state. Despite our popular image, water is becoming scarce in parts of Minnesota. Unprecedented water use conflicts are arising between businesses, towns, and residents. In most areas of the state, we are not yet in “crisis” mode when it comes to water availability. We have time to address these issues and ensure that Minnesota’s economies and ecosystems have adequate water supplies in the future.
Each of the selected pilot Groundwater Management Areas has been experiencing increased use and reliance on groundwater to meet public or private needs. The purpose of a groundwater management area is to organize resources and people to better understand the risk of overuse and contamination in these areas, and to develop a plan that the Department of Natural Resources can implement to ensure sustainable use of water.