Minnesota's Water Supply


1 MINNESOTA’S WATER SUPPLY: Natural Conditions and Human Impacts Climate Climate e W c a a f r t e u r S Wetlands Lakes Rivers & Streams Wetlands Rivers & Streams Lakes G r r e t o a u n W d Ground Water Ground Water DNR Waters Information Paper Helping people ensure the future of our water resources

2 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources Department of Natural Resources Waters Division 500 Lafayette Road St. Paul, MN 55155-4032 DNR Information Center: 651-296-6157 (Twin Cities) 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6357) (MN Toll Free) Telecommunication Device for the Deaf: 651-296-5484 (Twin Cities) 1-800-657-3929 (MN Toll Free) Equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from programs of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is available to all indi- viduals regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, age, sexual orientation or disability. Discrimination inquiries should be sent to MN DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4031; or the Equal Opportunity Office, Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. 20240. An electronic copy of this report can be found on the DNR’s World www.dnr.state.mn.us Wide Web home page: This information is available in an alternative format upon request. © 2000 State of Minnesota, Department of Natural Resources Printed on Recycled Paper

3 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources Minnesota’s Water Supply: Natural Conditions and Human Impacts by DNR Waters Hydrogeologists and Hydrologists Minnesota St. Paul, September 2000 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Waters Helping people ensure the future of our water resources

4 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction ...1 ...1 Minnesota’s Water Budget and Human Impacts Ground Water Sources ...2 Climate Variability ...4 Surface Water ...5 Concerns in Water Use and Protection ...7 Water Supply Sustainability ...7 Water Supply Interference ...8 Water Quality ...9 Ground W ater – Surface Water Interaction ...9 Strategies for Water Supply Management ... 10 Water Supply Assessment ... 10 Partnerships in Study and Protection ... 11 Conservation and Restoration ... 11 Regulation and Shared Responsibility ... 13 ... 15 Conclusion Further Reading on this Subject ... 16 ... 17 Related World Wide Web Sites Appendix A ... 18 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We wish to express our gratitude to everyone who contributed both text and illustrations to this publication. Thanks to Jim Japs and Jay Frischman for their publication development suggestions and to Sean Hunt, Nicholas Kroska, Randy McGregor and Mike Tronrud for their graphics, editing and design assistance. A special thanks to those who reviewed and commented on the manuscript for their unending patience. Laurel D. Reeves and Kent Lokkesmoe, John Linc Stine, editors Director

5 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources INTRODUCTION Our management practices affect the downstream user, both human and natural Managers of water resources face a resources. Through wise management of the continuing challenge. On the one hand, resource, Minnesotans control the destiny of human activities require increasing amounts their own water resources and also influence of water for drinking water supply, for the destiny of those who are downstream. industrial and agricultural needs, and for aesthetic purposes. On the other hand, a high Water budget elements are the components quality, ongoing water supply is necessary to of the hydrologic cycle. A water budget is an maintain the rich natural resource heritage estimation of the water resources available that generations in this state have enjoyed. to “spend” or “save” and must take into account all available ground and surface The fair and wise allocation of the water water. This includes ground water (flow, supply in light of increasing, competing storage), climate (precipitation and evapora- demands is one of the greatest challenges tion), and surface water (runoff, streamflow, facing the Minnesota Department of Natural and storage) (cover illustration). Precipi- Resources (DNR). Withdrawals for public tation either soaks into the ground or runs off water supplies, domestic uses, irrigation, into lakes, rivers, and wetlands. Much of the industrial processing, or power production water that soaks into the ground is stored in can conflict with the need to maintain soil to be taken up by plants. Evaporation adequate streamflows and water levels for from plants and from the land and water recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, and surfaces returns moisture to the atmosphere, reliable ground water supplies. which perpetuates the cycle. Each of these components is influenced to some degree by A significant increase in the amount of water human actions at or near the land surface. available for competing needs is not feasible. Components such as flow, storage, and Therefore, expectations for future water use ground water use can be controlled by human and demands must be managed using sound actions; however, natural variability of other water resource information and a profound components such as drought, flood, and understanding of the relationship between geographic distribution of aquifers cannot be human activities and natural conditions. controlled and causes concern for a variety of Included in this report are discussions of the human endeavors. following key topics: • current water budget and human impacts; an overview of water resource management • concerns that are being addressed statewide and by geographic and hydrogeologic areas; and Red River of the North Basin • current strategies for water supply management, and planning and Great Lakes development suggestions. Basin MINNESOTA’S WATER BUDGET AND HUMAN IMPACTS Minnesota is at the head of four continental watersheds and is the headwaters, the origin, Mississippi of three of these watersheds. Water flows River Basin north (Red River of the North Basin), south (Mississippi River Basin), east (Great Lakes Basin), and west (Missouri River Basin) from our state (Figure 1). The state receives very Missouri River little surface water from outside its Basin boundaries. Figure 1. Major watersheds 1

6 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources from which it was withdrawn. Water used for Of the total water use in Minnesota from 1985 power generation cooling water amounts to to 1997, an average of 18.6 percent came more than half of the total water use each from ground water (Figure 2). These water year (Figure 3); however, most of that water uses include public water supply, agricultural is available for reuse since it is returned to and golf course irrigation, and industrial the surface water source. processing. The remaining water used comes Ground Water Sources Minnesota can be divided for 25% 1200 the purpose of ground water supply concerns into 1000 20% hydrogeologically similar source areas: glacial drift 800 15% sources, glacial outwash 600 sources, and bedrock sources 10% (Figure 4). While the geology 400 across a source area may Billions of Gallons appear to be quite different, 5% 200 the water supply issues within each source area are 0% 0 quite similar. Ground Water as % of Total Water Use 1990 1993 1994 1996 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1997 1991 1992 1998 1995 Glacial Drift Sources . The Ground Water GW% Surface Water glacial drift source area includes northern, western, and southwestern Minnesota. Figure 2. Comparison of surface water and ground water use This area was covered by repeated glacial ice advances that deposited from surface water. Although surface water is clayey glacial till, often several hundred feet used for a variety of purposes such as public thick. Interlayered in this till were lenses and water supply and irrigation, the majority is layers of more porous sands. Sand and gravel used for cooling in power generation. All ground water with- drawals are considered 1500 consumptive, which means that the water is Other not directly returned to the same source. Irrigation Consumptive ground 1000 water uses pose a resource management Industrial concern because the Processing amount of water available for use from Public Billions of Gallons 500 that resource is reduced Supply and is only replaced Power through recharge. Generation Recharge amounts are dependent on climate, 0 primarily precipitation. 1995 1990 1985 The amount of recharge can be greatly affected Figure 3. Total water use by type by human actions. were also deposited along ancient riverbeds and along the shoreline of ancient lakes. Surface water used for power generation is These sand and gravel deposits, some of usually a nonconsumptive water use because which were then covered by subsequent the water is returned to the same source 2

7 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources soil characteristics for row cropping, building layers of glacial till, frequently are water placement, and building materials. Glacial bearing and are the aquifers used for water outwash aquifers are easily recharged making supply in this area. To be used as drinking them a plentiful source of water. Due to their water, these waters often require treatment. proximity to land surface, however, these They are isolated pockets, which may yield a aquifers are susceptible to contamination reasonable water volume, but are not quickly from human activity. recharged and thus are not easily renewed. Natural recharge can be and has been Care must be taken in the glacial outwash disrupted in many locations by artificial area to protect the ground water from the drainage patterns imposed for flood impacts of changing land use practices. protection and for improvement of Septic systems in unsewered housing agricultural production. developments, fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides from agricultural and residential The water supply needs of large volume users applications, and hazardous materials in northeastern Minnesota, where glacial drift disposal from manufacturing processes, to deposits are thin or nonexistent, are often name a few, represent potential contamina- met using surface water sources such as mine tion threats to the aquifers of the glacial pits, Lake Superior or other lakes and outwash area. streams. Many of these surface water sources are supplied by ground water. Actions such as mining and other development that interrupt ground water flow can disrupt the water supply. As the landscape is changed by human activities, the quantity and quality of these water supplies can be threatened. Best management of water resources in this area includes encouraging the distribution of water supply development throughout the glacial drift sources. Large volume water users should not rely too heavily on any single glacial drift source because that source may be unable to produce a sustained supply and because of water quality concerns in this I Glacial Drift Sources source area. Limited availability of large water volumes should be carefully considered II Glacial Outwash Sources before beginning any business or activity that may require large water supplies over a long Bedrock Sources III period of time. The effect of development on water flow patterns should also be considered before beginning those activities. The second Glacial Outwash Sources. hydrogeologic area has glacial outwash Figure 4. Ground water sources sources. This area in central Minnesota was Bedrock Sources. The third hydrogeologic also traversed by several glacial advances. As area is the sedimentary bedrock sources of the glaciers melted and retreated, water east-central and southeastern Minnesota. often ponded for long intervals at the front While the glaciers did advance over this area, edge, along the sides of the glacier, or in the sand deposits left in their wake are only meltwater pools on the glacier’s surface. used for water supply on a limited basis. The Thick sand and gravel deposits (outwash bedrock layers deposited in ancient seas are sands) were left as the ice melted. These the primary aquifers for this area that water-bearing sand layers were not covered includes the Twin Cities metropolitan area. and remained at or near land surface. They These aquifers generally produce great are the source of significant water supplies. volumes of water with few limitations. These areas are attractive for agriculture and Although some aquifers, such as the Mt. other development including sand and gravel Simon aquifer, yield water that is very old, mining because they are level and have good 3

8 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources water supply for future growing urban Water Savings Due to Metering development. Reducing future demand for The American Water Works Association recommends water through careful community and land that every water supplier meter all water taken into its use planning is also recommended. system and water distributed from its system to its users. The Cities of Farmington and Loretto serve as Climate Variability examples of the potential water savings due to installation of customer water meters. After customer The impact of climate must be included in all water meters were installed in 1993-1994, the City of evaluations of water availability in customers reduced total water use by 25% Farmington’s Minnesota. Human activity aside, surface and during the first year of metering. The City of Loretto ground water quantity is driven by the installed customer water meters in 1989; total water balance between atmospheric input from use declined 28% from 1988 to 1994 while the city’s precipitation and losses due to evapo- population increased 34%. Customers reduce water used transpiration. Minnesota’s climate is highly because they pay for water based on their actual water variable from east to west and from north to use. south. The primary source of moisture for precipitation in Minnesota is the tropical maritime air that moves into the state from recharge historically has been available to the south and southeast. The spatial variation resupply the aquifers. of average (normal) annual precipitation across Minnesota is determined by proximity This area also faces its challenges. Cave and to these moist air masses coming northward sinkhole features found in southeastern out of the Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, Minnesota can allow quick contamination of southeastern Minnesota, averaging nearly 32 the ground water. In the bedrock source inches per year, receives more precipitation area, water supply for an expanding than northwestern Minnesota, averaging less population density competes with surface than 19 inches. The normal annual precipita- water features such as lakes, wetlands, fens, tion for Minnesota (1961–1990) is 27.01 inches and trout streams. Many of these surface (Figure 5). water features are connected to and supplied by the ground water sources. In The presence of moist versus dry air masses addition, each community has developed also helps to determine the atmosphere’s separate water supply systems, which can ability to absorb water vapor evaporating lead to conflicts between communities and from soil and open-water surfaces, or other uses including the needs within the transpiring from leaf surfaces (evaporation surface water resources. plus transpiration is called “evapotranspira- tion”). Western Minnesota, more frequently Urban development is increasing the amount under the influence of dry air masses, has of the land surface that is paved, which higher evapotranspiration rates than the reduces the available seepage of water into eastern half of the state. Temperature plays the ground to recharge the aquifers. The an important role in determining the amount paving of the land surface and the channeling of energy available for evapotranspiration. of precipitation away from the land surface Because spatial temperature patterns are to run off as surface water through storm determined mainly by latitude, southern drainage reduce ground water recharge and, Minnesota experiences more evapo- subsequently, the availability of water. transpiration than northern Minnesota. In the Twin Cities metropolitan area, most Minnesota is on the boundary between the communities maintain their own water supply semi-humid climate regime of the eastern system. This method of public water supply United States and the semi-arid climate can lead to wasteful and redundant water regime to the west. Semi-humid climates are supply systems. Cooperative regional water areas where average annual precipitation supply systems drawing from both ground and exceeds average annual evapotranspiration, surface water sources can result in greater leading to a net surplus of water. In semi-arid efficiency and less stress on water resources. climates, evapotranspiration exceeds average Water conservation techniques, such as annual precipitation, creating a water defi- restrictions on lawn watering and the reuse cit. In Minnesota, the boundary between the of water used in manufacturing, should be semi-humid and the semi-arid climate employed to reduce demand and preserve the 4

9 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources regimes divides the state roughly into east- west halves as shown by the yellow transition band in Figure 6. In the transition and semi- arid zones the lesser precipitation plus in- creased evapotranspiration leads users to supplement precipitation by using more water from storage (i.e., ground and surface water). Given the multiple weather scenarios affecting Minnesota, wide ranges of climatic Semi-humid outcomes are the norm. “Normal” is merely a midpoint about which climate fluctuates. Neither climate extremes nor long-term variability should be considered as aberrations, but rather treated as inherent Transition components of a continental climate. Since climate records have been kept in modern times, dry periods have occurred over large Semi-arid areas of Minnesota in every decade of this past century. These dry periods are not abnormal and need to be factored into water use decisions. Figure 6. Precipitation minus evapotranspiration Extremes are not only possible but also likely to occur. Such knowledge does not prevent damage reduction, identification of their occurrence, but helps shape decisions previously unknown aquifers, and use of all and plans that lessen the impact of the water supply sources take on increased extremes on human activity. When seen in importance. this context, long-term efforts in water conservation, local water planning, flood Surface Water Minnesota has more than 20,000 protected water bodies and 870,000 63,000 wetlands*; miles of natural rivers and streams**; and 23,000 miles of drainage ditches and channelized watercourses**. Of a total of 13.1 million acres in wetlands and lakes, 10.1 million acres are wetlands and the remaining 3 million acres are lakes. (*National Wetlands Inventory [NWI]; Based on the DNR Public Waters Inventory, 38 there are 11,842 lakes greater than 10 acres in size and 10,029 36 wetlands. **Sources: United States Geological Survey [USGS] 34 River Kilometer Index and Minnesota Department of 32 30 Transportation Basemap surface hydrology project.) 28 26 Streamflow and Drainage Hydrology. 24 Precipitation quantities (Figure 5) directly 22 20 affect the amount and availability of 18 streamflows, lake and wetland levels, and 16 ground water supplies. Annual runoff (Figure inches inches 7) available to flow in streams is dependent on the amount of precipitation remaining after its consumption by human use, evaporation, and storage in lakes, wetlands, soil, and ground water. If, on average, more Figure 5. Normal annual precipitation water is evaporated, stored, or consumed 5

10 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources Lakes. Pressures on Minnesota’s lakes (Figure 8) continue to intensify as population grows and the demand for lakeshore residences continues to expand. Lakeshore use and development are often directly controlled by fluctuations in lake water levels and land use changes can adversely affect water quality. All lakes experience water level changes. 16 These changes are the result of precipitation 15 14 variability, outlet and land use changes, 13 12 ground water movement, and watershed size. 11 Landlocked lakes have no surface outlet 10 9 channels, often have small watersheds, and 8 7 typically experience large, long-term water 6 5 level fluctuations. As such, they can be good 4 3 indicators of local ground water levels. Water 2 1 uses that decrease ground water levels may 0 have detrimental effects on these lake water inches inches levels. Wetlands (Figure 8), like lakes, Wetlands. serve as water storage and transport systems and provide direct benefits to the Figure 7. Average annual runoff (derived from USGS environment. These benefits include streamflow data) floodwater storage and detention, nutrient assimilation, sediment entrapment, ground than is available from precipitation, runoff or water recharge and discharge, low-flow aug- streamflow will be decreased and in the mentation of streams, aesthetics and recrea- extreme case, the stream would go dry. tion, shoreland anchoring and erosion Extremes can be the result of low control, and wildlife and fisheries habitat precipitation (drought) or high consumption including habitat for rare plant and animal (human use exceeding supply, or high evapotranspiration) or both. Under scenarios that reduce streamflow, such as reduction in the amount of ground water augmenting the stream, precipitation may no longer be adequate to meet water supply and instream needs. (Instream needs include water needed to maintain flora and fauna, recreation, and ground water recharge.) The variable nature of the climate and water use over time and location results in water supply problems. Land management practices designed to enhance land and resource use such as the installation of drainage ditches have significantly altered the surface water hydrology in Minnesota. To varying degrees, these changes have influenced the timing, Wetlands rate, and volume of streamflows and water Lakes >5,000 acres level fluctuations in lakes, wetlands, and ground water. Generally speaking, the loss of surface water storage and soil moisture can change the character of streams and wetlands. The watercourses shown in red on the surface hydrology and drainage patterns map (inside back cover) are the areas where most of the altered drainage has occurred. Figure 8. Lakes and wetlands of Minnesota 6

11 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources CONCERNS IN WATER USE species. Benefits may vary according to the AND PROTECTION type, size, and location of the wetland or lake. Increased demands on water resources create increased concerns and conflicts. Water Wetlands once accounted for nearly one-third supply sustainability, water supply of Minnesota’s total acreage. In the late interference, water quality issues related to 1800s and early 1900s, many wetlands of water use, and ground and surface water Minnesota’s central forests and southern and interaction complexities are issues related to western prairies were drained for agricultural the impacts of development and growth. development. Figure 9 displays the estimated pre-settlement wetland and water areas of Minnesota by defining the underlying soil Water Supply Sustainability conditions. Currently, less than half of Minne- The distribution of the ground water supply sota’s original wetlands remain. They were does not necessarily match the distribution of lost primarily because of installation of drain demand, especially the demand for industrial tiles and ditches in the northwestern, and agricultural processing water use. The western, and southwestern portions of the availability of a sustainable water supply state (inside back cover). should be a primary consideration in planning for development and economic growth. Minnesota is nationally recognized for establishing a no-net-loss policy for wetlands. Sustainable Ground Water Sustainability. Local governments and state agencies such as ground water use requires “the development the DNR and the Board of Water and Soil and use of ground water in a manner that can Resources, along with federal agencies, are be maintained for an indefinite time without causing unacceptable environmental, economic or social consequences”*. (*USGS Circular 1186) Ground water aquifers can be sustained by limiting the drawdown of ground water levels only to levels that will be replenished by future recharge. This goal is easier to achieve in some source areas than in others. In some parts of the state, excessive pumping of aquifers has resulted in negative impacts on both humans and nature. One example is overpumping in the city of Dilworth in northwestern Minnesota. In 1996, the city contacted the DNR to investigate the “drying Peat soils Well-drained soils up” of two of its four municipal wells. From Wet mineral soils Dilworth’s pumping records, water level data Deepwater basins from DNR’s observation well network, and well construction information, the DNR determined that the city had, during the previous 30 years, pumped more water from the wells than was restored to the aquifer through recharge capability, resulting in a nearly complete dewatering of the aquifer Figure 9. Pre–settlement mineral soils and wetlands (Figure 10). The result was that the city had to restrict the pumping from these wells and start an expensive water supply exploration implementing programs aimed at protecting program to find new sources of water outside existing wetlands and restoring wetlands to the city limits. replace those that are still unavoidably being destroyed. Restoration of wetland functions Water Consumption Trends. Water use for will benefit existing water and land resources public water supply has steadily increased of the state, as well as improve associated since a brief decline following the peak use uses for humans and wildlife. 7

12 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources suggested as a method to supply water to the during the drought of 1988 (Figure 11 and more arid western and southwestern portions Figure 3). The use trends of public water of the state. Eight states including Minnesota supply follow those of agricultural irrigation and two Canadian provinces, all surrounding and are due to large peaking demands on the Great Lakes, have a charter that public water systems caused by lawn addresses notification and consultation on watering. Water use for industrial and requests for interbasin transfers out of the agricultural processing varies from year to year, but industrial processing use has doubled in the last -100 decade. Other water supply uses include water level -110 maintenance (use of ground -120 water to augment lake levels), air conditioning (once through -130 cooling – the practice of -140 extracting ground water for Aquifer -150 cooling then discharging that Depth to water (feet) water to a surface water body), -160 and specialty uses such as 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 pollution pump-outs and Year aquaculture. Water level maintenance uses have been phased out during the past Figure 10. DNR observation well 14003 decade. Once through cooling Great Lakes Basin. Minnesota has serious use has decreased from 11.1 billion gallons in concerns about such interbasin water 1989 to 5.1 billion gallons in 1999 and is transfers. Instead, the state supports the projected to fall below 1 billion gallons per sustainable use of our existing resources and year by 2011. Irrigation use is dependent on encourages water users to live within the the weather conditions and rainfall from year means of their naturally occurring water to year. The average irrigation use can supply. double in a very dry year such as 1988 or halve in a very wet year like 1993. The greatest amount of water used is for cooling Water Supply Interference purposes associated with power generation; Water supply interference occurs when water however, most of that water is returned to withdrawal affects a neighboring water the surface water source after use. Use for resource. Most often this occurs when this purpose has increased about 20 percent pumping from a high-volume well, such as an over the past decade. irrigation well, lowers water levels in a Interbasin Transfer. Transferring water from neighboring well (Figure 12). The potential impacts can range from short-term water one watershed to another is sometimes 1991 1995 1997 1998 1994 1993 1992 1996 1990 1989 1988 1987 1986 1985 Power 765 747 710 701 785 508 539 637 663 664 698 694 679 722 Generation Public 175 187 182 188 164 170 174 203 192 170 171 164 176 178 Supply Industrial 161 148 159 169 115 102 120 120 94 69 76 109 158 127 Processing 30 56 58 77 30 Irrigation 49 80 67 62 103 86 71 60 63 64 59 57 62 57 Other 49 42 38 42 48 53 52 58 63 1088 1183 1182 1162 1276 1106 1133 1091 1205 1092 1003 857 886 Total 1105 Figure 11. Water use by type (billions of gallons) 8

13 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources level drops of a few Domestic well inches to long-term High-volume Wetland Water level before declines of tens or even pumping well high-volume pumping hundreds of feet in water level. These declines may affect neighboring wells in a variety of ways: no noticeable effect at all; dropping water levels below a pump intake or Water level after Water level after the bottom of the well; high-volume pumping high-volume pumping or, in a worst case, totally dewatering the aquifer near the neighboring well, ren- Figure 12. Water supply interference dering that well unusable (Figure 12, see adjusting both crop and lawn fertilization domestic well). The DNR addresses levels after soil nutrient testing, and properly approximately one dozen well interference constructing and maintaining animal waste complaints each year, of which approximately handling facilities and home septic systems one third are found to be valid. In one 1992 aid in limiting the extent of human impacts case, the DNR received a well interference on the water supply. Urban sprawl with its complaint from a domestic well owner in increasing encroachment of residential Benton County. An irrigation well drilled the development into traditionally agricultural previous winter was purported to be causing areas, where irrigation may already exist, water levels in a domestic well to drop to the further complicates this issue. point where the well was out of water. Well construction information, historical water use data, and nearby water level data were Ground Water - Surface Water Interaction reviewed, and a controlled pumping test of Ground water pumping may affect a surface the irrigator’s well was conducted by the water body. The two most common effects DNR. This test showed that irrigation pumping are the direct capture or withdrawal of water had indeed caused the problem. To resolve from a water body, and the interception of the interference, the irrigator drilled a new water that normally would discharge at the well for the homeowner to an adequate depth land surface as springs or seeps, or flow so that the new well would not be put out of directly underground into the wetland or service by irrigation pumping. stream (Figure 13). Water Quality Adverse effects on surface water bodies caused by ground water pumping have been High-capacity pumping and its direct and documented throughout Minnesota. In the secondary impacts on water quality have Twin Cities metropolitan area, the impacts of become important issues in the past several municipal pumping on trout streams and years. Heavy pumping can cause changes in calcareous fens (unique wetland resources water quality within an aquifer. In particular, sustained by ground water) have caused many concerns have been raised over the several suburbs to relocate their wells to application of commonly used herbicides and deeper aquifers or farther from a surface pesticides on highly sensitive sand plain areas water body. Along the Minnesota River Valley (glacial outwash source area). Near Rice in and the historic Glacial Lake Agassiz shore in Benton County, the DNR is working with other northwestern Minnesota, the rare plant state agencies, local irrigators, and domestic communities supported by calcareous fens well owners to monitor the impacts of are in jeopardy from increased human fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and septic activity and subsequent disturbance of systems on the ground water system and to ground water flow patterns. In northcentral ensure that all landowners employ the best Minnesota, several irrigation permits have management practices. Such practices as been denied after documentation of pumping timing crop irrigation to soil moisture needs, 9

14 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources impacts on nearby wetlands. In some cases, deep aquifers not connected to the stream or wetland are available; in other cases, high-volume pumping is not a sustainable activity. Quarry dewatering can affect nearby surface water bodies; instances of this are docu- A . mented from the northern Iron Range pits, to the sand and gravel pits of western Minnesota, to the hard rock quarries of southeastern Minnesota. STRATEGIES FOR WATER SUPPLY B . MANAGEMENT Although Minnesota appears to have a more than adequate supply of water, that appearance can be misleading. Increasing demand from domestic, agricultural, and industrial water users can strain water C . resources and municipal water supply systems, especially during periods of Figure 13. A. Normal streamflow, B. stream capture, and C. stream drought or emergency. The (USGS Circular 1139) interception combined efforts of private citizens, special interest organizations, and are being directed to locating new water government at all levels are leading to sources in areas where growth is challenged continual improvement in cooperative water by limited water supply or where water resource management and wise use of the quality problems restrict water use from the waters of the state. commonly used aquifers. Monitoring of surface water has also been increased, and Water Supply Assessment new efforts have been directed at understanding and resolving problems For more than 50 years ground water, and associated with flood warning, mine pit surface water levels have been monitored in reclamation and renewed mining operations. Minnesota, while climate records exist from Continued monitoring of all water resources more than 100 years ago. However, the is essential for their management. historical monitoring record is limited in most of the state. Where monitoring records are During the last decade, the DNR and the available, they aid in resolving conflicts and Minnesota Geological Survey (MGS) have planning for future uses. Monitoring networks cooperated with several county governments are continually being evaluated. Recent to map their hydrogeology and geology. Local increases in state funding have been used for government planners and state agencies use additional monitoring in areas of increased these maps to understand human impacts on ground water demand such as the water resources and to manage those metropolitan areas and areas of increased impacts. agricultural processing. In addition, efforts 10

15 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources resources in their areas. Local water plans When water supply conflicts occur or when a have been written, rewritten, and revisited request for water use poses a potential several times. This process has increased the conflict, evaluations of the water supply and awareness of the effect of land use decisions demand are conducted by the DNR. These on human and water resource relationships. evaluations use data from many sources, including: Minnesota law requires that abandoned wells • DNR monitoring networks (climate, ground on private and public land be sealed to water, lakes, and streams), prevent ground water contamination. The DNR is charged with identifying and sealing • DNR water use data, unused wells on state lands. State managed land that was once in private ownership is DNR and Minnesota Department of Health • being searched for old wells, which, when (MDH) pumping tests, found, are sealed. In some instances, these County Well Index, • wells are not sealed and are added to the observation well network to enhance the United States Geological Survey and MGS • coverage of that monitoring network. geologic and hydrogeologic studies, and Two federal programs, Wellhead Protection • MGS and DNR county and regional maps. and Source Water Protection, are being instituted in this state led by the MDH with Suggestions for resolution of the conflict, participation by local governments and state which may include additional field agencies with water management investigations by the affected parties or the responsibilities. The Wellhead Protection DNR, are then made to the involved parties. program is generating improved A limitation on the volume or pumping rates understanding of the physical impact of authorized by the water use permits is one of public water supply appropriations through the alternatives that may be used to resolve pumping tests of wells and identification of the conflict. land use practices that may affect the quality of the water supply. Data from these Partnerships in Study and Protection pumping tests are used by the DNR to investigate conflicts and to support permit During the last several decades, numerous requests. Water emergency and conservation groups have cooperated in planning for the plans approved by DNR also satisfy wise use of Minnesota’s water supply. Groups requirements for Wellhead Protection. Source such as irrigators' associations have funded Water Protection will help define land use studies of major regional aquifers. Other practices that may affect all water supplies, local, state, and federal agencies and private both surface and ground water. Data organizations have also worked together to collected through Source Water Protection understand, study, plan for, and resolve Plan development may be used by water issues. Recently in southwestern communities to protect their water Minnesota, several cities, rural water resources. districts, and the DNR cooperated in a program of exploratory drilling to identify Conservation and Restoration previously unknown water supplies. In the iron mining district, the DNR, using Water conservation plays an important role in Legislative Commission on Minnesota balancing management objectives including Resources and Iron Ore Cooperative Research both development and protection of funds, is leading studies to quantify the Minnesota’s water resources. The DNR is water balance components of enormous required by statute to develop and manage taconite pits. Also being studied are the water resources to ensure an adequate supply effects of those mining operations on the to meet long-range seasonal requirements for downstream hydrology in populated areas, domestic, municipal, industrial, agricultural, both during operation and after the mining fish and wildlife, recreational, power, operations cease. navigation, and quality control purposes. The increasing trend in water use illustrates a In the last 15 years, local governments and need for improved conservation efforts by all individuals have increasingly participated in water users in the state to ensure the future and directed the management of water 11

16 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources use in a typical home can be reduced by nearly 20 0 4 5 gallons per person per day by using water-saving 4 0 0 plumbing fixtures and 400 practices. If just half of Outside Twin the state’s population 0 5 3 Cities Metro used water-saving fixtures and practices at home, 3 0 0 Twin Cities Metro 300 domestic water con- sumption could be 0 5 2 reduced by more than 17 billion gallons per year. Gallons Additional savings can be 2 0 0 200 achieved through broader implementation of best 5 1 0 management practices for lawn and landscape 0 0 1 watering and other 100 outdoor uses. 5 0 Balanced water con- servation programs use a Population 0 combination of voluntary Residential Total and mandatory measures. Per Capita Per Day Use Lawn watering schedules Total Water Use or emergency bans, home water audits, programs to Figure 14. 1998 water use (excluding power generation) retrofit water-saving fixtures, water recycling, and conservation rate structures can all be water supply. Since 1993, over 300 water implemented to reduce water use. Education utilities have developed water emergency and information programs regarding the wise and conservation plans to improve emergency use of water are an important cornerstone to preparedness and long-term water use conservation efforts. efficiencies. As the population and economy of Minnesota During the decade from 1989 to 1998, grow, so will demands upon the available Minnesota’s population increased by water supply. Effective conservation approximately 10 percent and overall water programs will become increasingly important use in the state increased from 1,092 billion for managing Minnesota’s water supply for a gallons per year to 1,276 billion gallons per sustainable future. The need to conserve year or approximately 17 percent. In 1989 (a water is not limited to the growing drought year), total per capita use was 689 metropolitan areas. In 1998, while the gallons per day. By 1998 (a normal residential per capita per day use was greater precipitation year), total per capita use had in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, the increased 6 percent, to 731 gallons per day. total per capita per day use was greater On average, per capita water use in outside the Twin Cities (Figure 14). Further, Minnesota is greater now than 10 years ago more than half the state’s population lived in even though precipitation has returned to the the Twin Cities, however, the Twin Cities normal range. Total per capita per day use is used only slightly more than one quarter of increasing faster than the population is the total reported water used. growing due primarily to increased power generation and industrial processing. Many businesses and industries question the rationale for water conservation tech- There are many ways to reduce this growing nologies. Nonetheless, money - possibly pressure on our water resources. For hundreds of thousands of dollars per year - example, research supported by the American may be flowing unnoticed out of their Water Works Association indicates that water 12

17 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources management technique that can be used to facilities. Water-using businesses in Minne- reduce the redirection of precipitation and sota that may be subject to such losses surface water runoff that might otherwise include dairies, grain processors, breweries, have recharged the ground water. meat processors, and other food-related or Safeguarding the natural recharge process in industrial processing facilities. this manner can have a long-term positive influence on water supplies. A carefully For many managers, water is a little-noticed planned approach to growth that considers line item in the “cost of doing business” the available water supply and water record sheets. When business managers learn resource setting is the development strategy that water sometimes costs the business that can minimize the impacts on both the owners a half a million dollars per year or water and human resources. more, they begin to take notice. Seeking the advice of competent environmental engineering experts has been paying off for Regulation and Shared Responsibility several businesses and has stopped this Historically, water resources have been " money drain " . managed using statutes and rules. Water use management by regulation has evolved since One Minnesota business was able to reduce it was originally passed into law in 1937. its costs by over $100,000 per year through Increased demand for water and subsequent improved technology and system redesign, conflicts have led the Minnesota Legislature and some businesses have saved considerably to enact laws that establish water resource greater amounts (as much as $1 million in the protection limits that help define the DNR's first year). These savings can be realized by role in managing Minnesota’s water quantifying incoming and outgoing water and resources. waste flows and then developing a plan to identify cost-cutting, water conserving Permits are issued for water appropriations, opportunities such as water reduction, reuse for work in public waters, and for dams. or recycling options, updated plumbing or Under the water appropriation statutes and technology modifications, and training for rules, priorities for water use (see insert box plant operations personnel. All of these following) have been defined that protect methods reduce water use and waste water higher priority water users from interference generation. by other users. Other regulations protect natural water resources such as trout The effects of growth and development on streams, calcareous fens, and major aquifers. ground water levels generally lag behind the Each statute helps maintain the potable growth or development activities. For water supplies necessary for everyday life instance, as land is converted to urban use while protecting natural resources. These with storm sewers and paved surfaces or as statutes and rules are: drainage is redirected from wetlands to ditches for increased agricultural production, • Ground Water (M.S. 103G.261 and M.S. the patterns of ground water recharge are 103G.295, Subdivision 5). Domestic water altered or interrupted. This decreases the supplies are protected from high-capacity amount of water that infiltrates into the water users. Statutes define water use ground to replenish the aquifers. Wetland priorities, and water uses may be limited restoration and preservation is one to protect higher priority water users. Water allocation permit decisions are Definitions of “per capita” terms based on water use priorities established Total Per Capita Use – Total reported water use for all under statute. purposes divided by population. This term is not intended to reflect actual use by individuals. • Water Courses (M.S. 103G.285, Subdivision Residential Per Capita Use – Municipal water supplied to 2). Water appropriations from water residential customers divided by the population served courses during low-flow periods may be by municipal water supply. This figure is intended to suspended to protect water availability for reflect average water use per individual in a household instream uses and higher priority water and includes indoor (bathing, clothes washing, etc.) and users. outdoor (lawn watering, car washing, etc.) use. Water Basins (M.S. 103G.285, Subdivisions • 3 and 4). Water appropriations from basins 13

18 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources smaller than 500 acres are discouraged and require applicants to contact all Water Use Priorities (M.S. 103G.261) riparian landowners on the basin. Water 1. Domestic water supply, excluding industrial and com- appropriations may not be allowed below mercial uses of municipal water supply, and use for power a certain level (protection elevation), and production that meets the contingency planning provi- the cumulative total volume of water that sions of section 103G.285, subdivision 6; can be appropriated by all water users on 2. a use of water that involves consumption of less than the basin is limited to 6 inches off the 10,000 gallons of water per day; surface of the basin. 3. agricultural irrigation, and processing of agricultural • Trout Streams (M.S. 103G.285, Subdivision products involving consumption in excess of 10,000 gal- 5). Water appropriations from trout lons per day; streams are limited to temporary projects 4. power production in excess of the use provided for in during high-flow periods. the contingency plan developed under section 103G.285, subdivision 6; Calcareous Fens (M.S. 103G.223). • 5. uses, other than agricultural irrigation, processing of Calcareous fens are rare and unique agricultural products, and power production, involving wetlands that require persistent upwelling consumption in excess of 10,000 gallons per day; and of ground water that is rich in calcium 6. nonessential uses. carbonates. Calcareous fens are home to a number of endangered or threatened plant species and are protected by statute management of individual water uses from being filled, drained, or otherwise through regulation and permitting is needed. degraded, wholly or partially, by any This allows for consistent and equitable activity. These resources are sensitive to treatment for Minnesota water users and changes in ground water levels caused by conservation of natural resources. water appropriations. As an option consistent with regulation, Mt. Simon-Hinckley Aquifer (M.S. • appropriators have joined in the adoption of 103G.271, Subdivision 4a). This is the allocation plans, such as the Clearwater deepest aquifer in the Twin Cities River Plan, which define restrictions and metropolitan area and has limited share the impact of those restrictions when recharge. This statute protects this the water supply is stressed by drought or resource for potable water purposes and increased demand. Similar plans have been restricts new uses. New uses are allowed implemented or encouraged in other areas if there are no other alternatives and where potential water use conflicts exist. when conservation measures are being Another outgrowth of the need for shared implemented. responsibility is the evolution of local and • Natural Flows (MN Rules 6115.0220). DNR regional water planning such as in the Waters is charged with maintaining natural southwest Twin Cities area. A group of flows and levels. Changing land and water concerned community water suppliers and use practices contribute to the difficulty in agencies meet regularly and have joined in doing so. research and planning to wisely allocate and protect limited water resources. • Interbasin Transfer (M.S. 103G.265). The DNR is required to develop and manage Unwise uses of ground water such as once water resources including diversion out of through cooling and lake water level state or out of the basin of origin. This maintenance have been severely curtailed specifically includes the Great Lakes Basin. since 1989. This has resulted in a 6.4 billion gallons per year reduction in unwise water Regulations are one of the tools available to use. Implementation of water conservation address ongoing management concerns measures such as water re-use technologies throughout the state (Appendix A). These in industrial processing and the use of concerns range from limited water resource modified residential plumbing fixtures help availability to increasing adverse impact to to slow the increase in water use. unique water resource features. Because water resources transcend governmental and private property boundaries, oversight and 14

19 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources CONCLUSION Industry, agriculture, housing, manufactur- ing, power generation, and well managed public water supply are all necessary elements to nurture and sustain com- munities. To maintain all the natural resource features that contribute to Minnesota’s attractive quality of life, including fish and wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities, each growth and development decision needs to include consideration of its effect on the water supply and associated water resources. Careful consideration of the effect each use may have on the available water supply is essential for the sustainability of the water supply and the water supply’s ability to be recharged for future growth, development, and enjoyment. In order to ensure the future of our water supply, thoughtful water supply management, including conservation, restoration, study, and protection must be practiced. Only in this manner will Minnesotans continue to wisely control their water resource destiny. 15

20 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources FURTHER READING ON THIS SUBJECT - A biennial series of reports to the Minnesota Legislature. Water availability assessment reports The 1998 report contains several localized examples of water supply issues: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, DNR Waters, 1998 Water Availability • , 18p. Assessment Report, 1998 Water year data summaries - This biennial series of summaries contains a review and summary of basic hydrologic data gathered through DNR Waters programs including ground water, water use, climatology and surface water: • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Waters, 1997 and 1998 Water Year Data Summary , 1999 (most recent publication), 80p. Water plans and agency services – Sets the agenda for protecting and conserving water resources in the state and identifies service providers: Environmental Quality Board, Minnesota Planning Agency, • Minnesota Watermarks, gauging , 2000, 45p. the flow of progress 2000 – 2010 • Minnesota Water Plan , 1991, Environmental Quality Board, Minnesota State Planning Agency, 44p. • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Ground Water, A Directory of Minnesota’s Programs and Resources , 1995, 13p. • Local water plans available through county planning agencies. Drinking water quality – Information about Minnesota’s community water supply systems: • Minnesota Department of Health, Safeguarding a Precious Resource, A summary of Drinking Water Protection Activities in Minnesota for 1998 , 1999, 16p. Hydrologic cycle – Discussion of the hydrologic cycle and the effects of land use practices on water quantity and quality: • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources through the Board of Water and Soil Resources, poster: Ground Water and Land Use in the Water Cycle ; Soil and Water Conservation Society through MN DNR Waters, comic book: • Water in Your Hands , 1990. Aquifer sustainability – Concepts to consider to ensure the wise, sustainable use of our water supply: • Alley, William M., Reilly, Thomas E. and Franke, O. Lehn, Sustainability of Ground-Water Resources , U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1186, 1999, 79p.; • Sustainable Development, the Very Idea , Minnesota Planning Environmental Quality Board, 1998, 24p; • Sophocleous, Marios,ed., Perspectives on Sustainable Development of Water Resources in Kansas , Kansas Geological Survey Bulletin 239, 1998, 239p. Ground and surface water interaction – Understanding of ground water and surface water interactions: Winter, Thomas C., Harvey, Judson W., Franke, O. Lehn and Alley, William M., Ground • Water and Surface Water, A Single Resource , U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1139, 1998, 79p. 16

21 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources RELATED WORLD WIDE WEB SITES • MN Department of Natural Resources, Waters Division – www.dnr.state.mn.us/waters MN Department of Natural Resources – www.dnr.state.mn.us • • MN Department of Health, Environmental Health – www.health.state.mn.us/ • MN Pollu tion Control Agency – www.pca.state.mn.us • www.mda.state.mn.us MN Department of Agriculture – • Minnesota Planning – www.mnplan.state.mn.us • Board of Water and Soil Resources – www.bwsr.state.mn.us • Minnesota State Government – www.state.mn.us • Environmental Information – www.bridges.state.mn.us • Metropolitan Council – metrocouncil.org • www.geo.umn.edu/mgs/ Minnesota Geological Survey – • US Geological Survey – wwwmn.cr.usgs.gov US Fish and Wildlife Service – www.fws.gov • American Water Resources Association – www.awra.org • • National Ground Water Association – www.ngwa.org www.nwra.org/newsite National Water Resources Association – • • www.epa.gov/ US Environmental Protection Agency – • Minnesota Rural Water Association – www.mrwa.com • American Water Works Association – www. awwa.org • Water Efficiency Clearinghouse – www.waterwiser.org • Natural Resources Research Institute – www.nrri.umn.edu/cwe • University of Minnesota Water Resources Center – wrc.coafes.umn.edu 17

22 Appendix A. Areas of water use and protection concerns (September, 2000) Water Supply Management Concern Use * Limitation Where or What Water feature Surface Water- Water Quality Interference Water Supply Sustainability Ground Water Resource Interaction Wahpeton buried valley Limited recharge and over pumping X MU, IN Breckenridge (Wilkon Co.) X Limited recharge and over pumping Buffalo aquifer MU, IN Buffalo Aquifer (Clay Co.) X Buffalo Lake (Sibley Co.) Limited recharge and over pumping X X MU, E X IN Limited recharge and over pumping X Camden State Park (Lyon Co.) Lk Byllesby, dolomite mine dewatering X QD Dakota & Goodhue Counties X Limited recharge and over pumping Dilworth aquifer Dilworth (Clay Co.) MU Black Dog CF (Dakota Co.) MU, IN X Legislative protection calcareous fen X calcareous fen Legislative protection QD, IR Felton Prairie CF (Clay Co.) Legislative protection X MU Ft. Snelling CF (Dakota Co.) calcareous fen MU, IN X Legislative protection calcareous fen Nichols CF (Dakota Co.) calcareous fen Ogema CF (Becker Co.) X Legislative protection calcareous fen X Ottawa CF (Le Sueur Co.) QD Legislative protection calcareous fen Legislative protection X MU Savage CF (Scott Co.) calcareous fen MU Legislative protection Seminary CF (Carver Co.) X Legislative protection X MU Sioux Nation CF (Yellow Medicine Co.) calcareous fen MU X X Limited recharge and over pumping Granite Falls (Chippewa Co.) Diversion/interbasin transfer Great Lakes X X Great Lakes MU, QD X X Iron Range district Mine reclamation & flooding, municipal mine pits X land locked lakes Aesthetic/growth/health (septic & wells) Legislative protection and no backup supply X X LPRW-Burr well field (Yellow Med. Co.) MU Altamont, Pr. Coteau Limited recharge and over pumping, water quality LPRW-Holland well field (Pipestone Co.) MU X X X Legislative protection and no backup supply X MU LPRW Verdi well field (Lincoln Co.) Limited recharge, water quality, legislative protection X X MU, IR Rock River aquifer Luverne/Rock Co. RW (Rock Co.) X Marshall (Lyon Co.) Dudley Aquifer X X X Limited recharge and over pumping MU, IN International boundary/diversion/interbasin transfer X X Missouri Basin/Hudson Bay Garrison Diversion MU, IN X Legislative protection Mt. Simon aquifer Mt. Simon aquifer (metro) upper sand plain Perham, Clitherall (Otter Tail Co.) IR X X Urban growth/agriculture conflict Legislative protection IR Straight River (Becker/Hubbard Co.) X X IN, MU Renville (Renville Co.) X Rochester (Olmstead Co.) MU X Zumbro Cumulative effect X Sedan/Glenwood (Pope Co.) IR X X X X X X Urban growth/agriculture conflict IR Stearns/Sherburne/Benton Cos. upper sand plain X QD Steele Co. IR X Swift Co. X TC Metro SW MU, IN X X Legislative protection-CF & Mt. Simon X trout streams Legislative protection, urban growth Valley Cr., Browns Cr. MU, E X Limited recharge and over pumping X Windom (Cottonwood Co.) X MU, E Worthington (Nobles Co.) Limited recharge and over pumping * MU=municipal, IR=irrigation, IN=industrial, QD=quarry dewatering, E=ethanol production CF=Calcareous Fen


24 Helping people ensure the future of our water resources Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Waters Helping people ensure the future of our water resources

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