Category Archives: Conservation in the News

Governor Dayton Proposes Increase In State Water Fees

March 28, 2013

Governor Mark Dayton proposed an increase in state water fees. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The proposal would raise millions of dollars for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
  • The increase, if passed by the Legislature, would more than double the amount generated by permit fees – from $5 million annually to nearly $11.8 million annually.
  • The DNR would use the funds to study water levels of local underground aquifers.
  • The price increase will be in the form of Permit Fees – aimed at the heavy users:  Municipalities, Farmers and Industry.
  • Homeowners will only see an increase of approximately $1 annually, while an average farm would see an increase from $140 – $500 per year, according to state estimates.
  •  The increase in funds would allow state hydrogeologists to place additional monitors to track underground water levels.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, March 28, 2013, Brad Schrade

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Even the Land of 10,000 Lakes is Running Short of Water

An interesting article was published in the StarTribune on Sunday, February 24th, 2013 entitled “Minnesota Draining Its Supplies of Water”.  Here are the highlights:

  • Many regions in the state have reached the point where people are using water — and then sending it downstream — faster than the rain and snow can replenish it.
  • Last year, Minnesotans used a record amount of water.
  • Now state regulators, who have never said no to a water permit, for the first time are planning to experiment with more stringent rules that will require some local communities to allocate scarce water.
  • In Minnesota, how the rain falls and the snow melts is crucial because virtually all the state’s water comes from the sky.
  • .“We are not running out of water,” said Jim Stark, head of the Minnesota office of the U.S. Geological Survey. “But we are depleting it.” “We move it downstream, we don’t recycle it.”
  • The most visible example is White Bear Lake.  Since 1980, nearby communities have more than doubled the volume of water they pump from the Prairie du Chien aquifer they share with the lake, primarily because of higher residential demand. Now, the lake drops even during wet periods
  • Soon, the problem could spread beyond White Bear Lake. If the Twin Cities metro area grows by half a million people over the next two decades, at current rates of water use, whole sections of the Twin Cities’ aquifers will drop by half, even with normal rainfall, hydrologists say.
  •  In 2010, only 2 to 3 percent of the state’s cropland was irrigated, but that alone used 29 percent of water pumped out of Minnesota’s ground that year. But in 2012, the state received nearly 200 irrigation permit requests, with another 200 expected this year — two to three times the norm, DNR officials said.
  • DNR water officials say it’s time for local communities to start making decisions on water, rather than the state, because the current rates of use are not sustainable.
  • “If you fail to make a choice, then at some point the aquifer will do that for you,” said Jason Moeckel, a water manager for the DNR.
  • Author of the article:  Josephine Marcotty • 612-673-7394  marcotty@startribune.com

Conserva Irrigation educates commercial property managers, HOA boards, and residential homeowners about reducing their landscape water use and performs audits to expose inefficiencies in their systems.  Additionally, Conserva constructs a plan to retro-fit their system – both through the use of smart controllers with on-site weather stations and updating the inefficient in-ground components.  Many of Conserva Irrigation’s clients experience a 30 – 60% reduction of water usage.

Imagine how much more healthy the aquifer levels would be if the 46,000,000 residential and 18,000,000 commercial irrigation systems across the U.S. used 30 – 60% less water to irrigate the landscape.