Minnesota needs to do much more research on the flow of rainwater into and through groundwater aquifers. There should be much more required testing of private wells. Clean-up plans drafted for lakes and rivers polluted by agricultural runoff should be mandatory – not voluntary, as they now are. Counties should establish collection programs for pharmaceutical drugs that now often are flushed down the toilet. Water prices should be increased to pay for restoration of the natural plant and animal systems from which the water is taken.
Those are some of the recommendations of 25-year water sustainability plan presented to the Legislature on Jan. 5. The sustainability framework resulted from a yearlong $750,000 planning process led by University of Minnesota professor Debora Swackhamer and the university’s Water Resources Center.The Minnesota Environmental Quality Board also released on Jan. 5 its long-range water resources plan for the state.
For more information:
- The full 150-page Minnesota Water Sustainability Framework report.
- A December Freshwater Society interview with Deborah Swackhamer.
- A Star Tribune article on the framework.
- Audio from Swackhamer’s testimony about the framework to the Minnesota House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
- Background on the Legislature’s 2009 decision to order the sustainability study.
- The EQB water resources plan.