Local Implementation of Groundwater Strategies
$125,000 the first year and $125,000 the second year are to develop and deliver groundwater restoration and protection strategies for use on a watershed scale for use in local water planning efforts and to provide resources to local governments for drinking water source protection activities.
The proposed outcomes of 2015 efforts is to complete two GRAPS pilot projects. The pilot projects will a) engage local governments and other stakeholders to gather input on how GRAPS can most effectively support local implementation of activities that protect and improve groundwater and drinking water (including the type, format, and delivery of information), b) determine resources and time needed to complete a GRAPS process in a watershed, and c) evaluate the effectiveness of GRAPS as a local groundwater and drinking water planning tool on a watershed scale.
$300,000 in 2015 from the Clean Water Fund is to collaborate with the Board of Water and Soil Resources and local units of government in the North and East Metro Groundwater Management Area, Bonanza Valley Groundwater Management Area, and Straight River Groundwater Management Area and to update wellhead protection areas within groundwater management areas, in cooperation with the Board of Water and Soil Resources, to meet the sustainability standards of Minnesota Statutes, chapter 103G, including Minnesota Statutes, section 103G.287, subdivision 5, and to be available for the requirements of Minnesota Statutes, chapter 103H. The update should identify the most critical areas that need protecting.
Proposed outcomes are updated wellhead protection planning in pilot Groundwater Management Areas, and increased colloboration on groundwater and drinking water protection activities with DNR and BWSR staff and associated programs.
Appropriations from the Clean Water Fund allow the Minnesota Department of Health to expand and improve the way groundwater and drinking water protection is implemented at the local level. In 2015, $300,000 was allocated to update wellhead protection areas within groundwater management areas. From 2016 onward, funding will be dedicated to the Groundwater Restoration and Protection Strategies (GRAPS) initiative which will provide groundwater and drinking water information and management strategies on a HUC 8 watershed scale.
The result of GRAPS will be one coordinated interagency document based on existing state information that can be incorporated into local water management plans. GRAPS will include information to support more effective management of groundwater and drinking water resources in the watershed, including a) an inventory of contaminants and land uses that threaten water resources, b) activities or practices that can be implemented by local resource staff and citizens to protect the quality and quantity of water, c) how to implement strategies in accordance with the “prioritize, target, and measure” framework, and d) how strategies can be implemented to achieve multiple benefits (i.e., also address other resource concerns such as ecological resources, habitat protection, etc.).
Minnesota has adopted a Watershed Approach to assess and manage water resources in the state. Managing ground and surface water together at the watershed level will maximize resources, improve efficiency, and increase collaboration. During a 10-year cycle, state agencies will work in the 81 major watersheds to evaluate water conditions, establish priorities and goals for improvement, and take actions designed to restore or protect water. GRAPS fits into the Watershed Approach for resource planning in Minnesota.