Project: Water availability project
Managing for Water Sustainability: A Report of the EQB Water Availability Project. The EQB adopted the final report on November 20, 2008.
A GIS prototype was created by EQB and LMIC staff for providing a broad perspective to proposed water use. Check out the Water Availability Information System tool.
Project next steps, DNR, EQB and partners
In addition to approving Managing for Water Sustainability at its November 20, 2008 Board meeting, the EQB directed the DNR to take the lead to
evaluate models and tools to assess water availability and
sustainability and the appropriate applications for resource
management. In March 2009 the DNR created a Technical Work Group to pursue this charge, tapping assistance from a group of
expert hydrologists. The group will work in 2009 and 2010 to generate guidance with the goal of advancing sustainable management of ground water.
In December 2007, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency requested that the Environmental Quality Board establish an interagency working group to consider water availability issues in Minnesota. The agency was seeking a broader framework in which the state might evaluate current and future water uses.
In January 2008 the EQB created an interagency team to assist in drafting a project work plan. This plan was adopted by the EQB in February, and work group members have begun producing the elements called for in the plan.
The EQB charge identifies three
- Take a broad look at water
availability and appropriations, including but not limited to issues specific
to the ethanol industry, finding a way to put consideration of proposed water
uses into a broader framework and perspective
- Consider how the state
might establish (and/or has established) protective and achievable standards to
quantify and address the environmental impacts of proposed water uses
- Summarize need and options
for collecting additional data important to comprehensive and timely analysis
of proposed water uses
Four assumptions define the
- The project should be
completed in six months.
- The project should address
the charge based upon existing data.
- There is a need to provide
better information to the public about our understanding of water availability
- Today’s decisions would
benefit from an understanding of the context of future needs.
To understand the broad issues related to water resources in
project should aim to answer the following questions:
- What do and don’t we know
ground water resources?
- Can we make any estimates
on water availability in a broad sense?
- What’s our water resources
- Do we have a sustainable
planning strategy? What is it?
- What do we want to know
from a resource management and planning perspective?
Can we identify the data
gaps and develop tools that would improve our understanding in any of the areas
we’d like to know more about?
- The steps followed and data used in the
evaluation and permitting process, and how that process determines water
availability and appropriations specific to large-water use permits
- The standards used or needed to quantify and
address the environmental impacts of ethanol plants and other water users, and
how they protect Minnesota’s
water resources and environmental quality
- What we know and don’t know about ground water
resources, the effects of a proposed new user, and long-term cumulative effects
of water and land use
- The need and urgency of additional information
and research, improving data, information management and communications, and
securing necessary funding and staffing needed to satisfy growing concerns
about water availability
- The links between water availability and other water-related
- How today’s water permitting, availability and
policy decisions fit with the long term view, including population and land development
changes, commercial and industrial expansion, and climate change that might be
reasonably expected in the future
- EQB meeting record of water report adoption: Audio recording of the November 20, 2008 EQB meeting, December 18, 2008. (13.71 M, .mp3) | Minutes details
- Managing for water sustainability: report of the EQB Water Availability project: Calls for important new steps to protect the state’s water supplies, December 11, 2008. (1.1 M, PDF) | Report details
- Water availability technical focus group. A technical committee of the Water Availablity Work Group has been formed.
- Timeline for water availability work plan : Timeline for elements in the water availability work plan , March 17, 2008. (22.92K, .pdf) | WorkDocument details
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency letter: Letter issued to the Environmental Quality Board requesting an interagency team to evaluate water availability, March 13, 2008. (17K PDF) | Letter details
- EQB water availability work plan: Work plan adopted by the EQB in February 2008, March 13, 2008. (40.59K, .pdf) | Letter details
- Water availability forum. Discussion page for work group members only.
Environmental Quality Board, 520 Lafayette Road North, Saint Paul, MN 55155