Freshwater recharge is focus for upcoming session

by Steve Woods and Carrie Jennings

Water levels decline where groundwater is used faster than it is replenished by precipitation. Graph and photo: MnDNR

The 2019 legislative session will find Freshwater out front advocating for a two-year study to inform safe and economic approaches to groundwater recharge. In those areas where groundwater reserves are shrinking, we must understand the range of options and costs involved to enhance and replenish it. In doing so, Minnesota’s groundwater will continue to be a source of economic strength for communities, farmers, and businesses.

Our aim is for the legislature to direct the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center to conduct a two-year, interdisciplinary study to identify areas where groundwater recharge makes both economic and geologic sense and report back to the Legislature during the 2020-21 session.

Also of interest for us is raising the state water connection Safe Drinking Water (service connection) fee so the Minnesota Department of Health can continue to adequately monitor drinking water supplies, a voluntary salt applicator training program that can lessen the over application of harmful winter salts by (non-public) maintenance crews, and support for the slate of well-thought out recommendations from the Clean Water Council and Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.