Star Tribune editorial backs water fee increases

Read a May 7 Star Tribune Editorial urging the Minnesota Legislature to enact an increase in state water appropriation fees recommended by Gov. Mark Dayton and passed last month by the House.

The editorial says, in part:

“The vast but finite aquifers are like glasses of water with many drinking straws — perhaps too many — draining their contents. One of the most pressing challenges facing the state is ensuring that increased demand from a growing population and agricultural irrigation doesn’t drain groundwater supplies too rapidly. Instead, this resource must be managed sustainably for future generations.”

The legislation, House File 977, is awaiting action by a House-Senate conference committee.

The editorial cites a Freshwater Society report, Minnesota’s Groundwater: Is our use sustainable?, that estimates total reported groundwater use in the state increased 31 percent from 1988 through 2011.