Online Permitting System

Quick Facts

Source: 
Clean Water Fund
Status: 
In Progress
Activity Type: 
Digitization/Online Information Access, Mapping, Assessment/Evaluation, Preservation, Monitoring
Counties Affected 
Statewide
This project will establish a web-based permitting system to capture essential water appropriation information. The system will include an online permit application process for water use and other permits. The online system will streamline the permitting process for applicants and significantly reduce staff time correcting and managing permit applications and water use reports that are incomplete or have incorrectly calculated permit fees. The use of technology in the application and reporting process will also eliminate staff time needed to enter data and scan and route documents. Place-based electronic data and reports will be easily accessible for use by internal and external stakeholders for a variety of management purposes in communities throughout Minnesota.

About the Issue

Minnesota's natural resources are facing increasing pressure from intensive land uses like agriculture and urban development. Many activities, such as taking groundwater or surface water for irrigation, industry, or community domestic uses, require permits under Minnesota Law. Permits for water use, as well as for alterations to shorelines and watercourses (public waters work) and dam safety, help the state ensure the sustainable long term use of Minnesota's water resources.

In 2011, The Minnesota Legislature passed and the governor signed House File 1 and Governor's Executive Order 11-04, directing state agencies to accelerate and simplify permitting processes. The web-based permitting system will allow for a more efficient and effective permitting process and provide a more positive experience for stakeholders by reducing the amount of time required to submit permit applications; enabling cost-effective and timely communication with applicants regarding the completeness and status of their application; and allowing applicants to pay permit and water use fees online. A secure, user friendly system will provide greater transparency, improve permitting program performance, and allow agency staff to focus more time on the State's conservation mission.
Status: 
In Progress
Start Date: 
July 2011
End Date: 
June 2014

Project Details by Fiscal Year

Fiscal Year(s): 
2014
Legal Citation / Subdivision: 
M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Chp. 6, Art. 2, Sec. 6(f)
Appropriation Language 
$450,000 the first year and $450,000 the second year are for establishing a Web-based electronic permitting system to capture water appropriation use information.
Fiscal Year Funding Amount: 
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded: 
0.5
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY14, DNR will complete development and testing of the entire system for Water Appropriation, Public Waters Work, and Dam Safety permits. In addition to applying for new permits, the system will also enable users to view and request changes to their existing permits, submit annual water use reporting data, and pay all permit related fees electronically. DNR anticipates also undertaking a 6-month enhancement phase to incorporate feedback from stakeholders.
Fiscal Year(s): 
2013
Legal Citation / Subdivision: 
M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Chp. 6, Art. 2, Sec. 6(f)
Appropriation Language 
$450,000 the first year and $450,000 the second year are for establishing a Web-based electronic permitting system to capture water appropriation use information.
Fiscal Year Funding Amount: 
$450,000
Direct expenses: 
$195,327
Administration costs: 
$41,669
Number of full time equivalents funded: 
1.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY13, DNR will transition from the initial design phase of the project to the build phase. This includes creating the physical database and screen designs, programming business rules and process work flows, conducting prototype testing with internal staff and external stakeholders, and performing data migration/conversion from existing databases. A web page and other communication pieces will announce the transition from a paper-based permitting process to an online system for permit applications, permit change requests, and annual water use reporting. DNR will train staff and external partners in the use of the site and start using the new system (DNR staff only) by April 2013. The goal is to have the public web application and payment systems rolled out by June 30th, 2013.
Measurable Outcome(s) 
n FY13, DNR transitioned from the initial design phase of the project to the build phase. This included creating the physical database and screen designs, programming business rules and process work flows, conducting prototype testing with internal staff, and performing data migration/conversion from existing databases. DNR staff were trained in the use of the new database and started using the system to process paper applications on May 6, 2013. The goal is to have the public application side of the system rolled out by the February 2014. A web page and other communication pieces were developed to inform stakeholders about the impending transition from a paper-based permitting process to an online system.

It was determined that additional time was necessary to build the public-side of the new system to our satisfaction. It is critical that customers have a positive user experience with the online system and a decision was made to defer public release in order to ensure functionality, ease-of-use, and DNR staff comfort in using the internal side of the new system before rolling out to the public. The additional time has also enabled minor fixes and incorporation of staff-recommended enhancements.
Fiscal Year(s): 
2012
Legal Citation / Subdivision: 
M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Chp. 6, Art. 2, Sec. 6(f)
Appropriation Language 
$450,000 the first year and $450,000 the second year are for establishing a Web-based electronic permitting system to capture water appropriation use information.
Fiscal Year Funding Amount: 
$450,000
Direct expenses: 
$151,529
Administration costs: 
$65,540
Number of full time equivalents funded: 
0.0
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY12, DNR will develop a detailed design for a web-based electronic permitting system.
Measurable Outcome(s) 
In FY12, DNR developed a detailed design for a web-based electronic permitting system. A steering committee and several project teams comprised of subject matter experts worked to develop a project definition and scope. A 4-day Kaizen Event (process analysis and improvement) was held to overview and map the current permitting processes. The Kaizen team found inefficiencies in the current permitting process, identified improvements, and document new standardized processes. The project teams identified requirements for the new online permitting system, prepared detailed system design documents (use cases), and formulated standardized application/review procedures. DNR established contracts with MN.IT technical experts to model databases and processes and develop applications. A Communications Plan was developed and monthly project updates were sent to Division staff and interagency partners.

Project Manager

Sarah
Wren
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul
55155
651-259-5143