Reducing Water Use on Twin Cities Lawns through Assessment, Research, and Demonstration

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Metropolitan Council/University of Minnesota
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
Public College/University
In Progress
Start Date
February 2016
End Date
December 2017
Activity Type
Demonstration/Pilot Project
Counties Affected
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2014, Chapter 312, Art. 14, Sec. 5
Appropriation Language

$50,000 in 2015 from the clean water fund is to partner with the University of Minnesota's Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) to identify opportunities for industrial water users to reduce or reuse their water consumption within the North and East Metro Groundwater Management Area.

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

The proposed outcomes including providing information and demostration projects that will promote reduced outdoor water use in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Measurable Outcome(s)

Outcomes will be reported at project completion.

Recipient Board Members
Adam Duininck (Chair), Katie Rodriguez, Lona Schreiber, Jennifer Munt, Deb Barber, Steve Elkins, Gail Dorfman, Gary Cunningham, Cara Letofsky, Edward Reynoso, Marie McCarthy, Sandy Rummel, Harry Melander, Richard Kramer, John Commers, Wendy Wulff
Project Overview

The Metropolitan Council, in conjunction with the University of Minnesota, is evaluating outdoor water use in the Twin Cities metro region - a subject which has come under the spotlight recently due to concerns related to water quality and quantity issues. In the Twin Cities, 20% of all treated drinking water is used outdoors, with a majority of this being used on lawns and landscapes. The goal of this proposal is to reduce water use in the home landscape by conducting assessments, research, and demonstration around the smart use of irrigation.

Project Details

Nationally, water use in the home landscape accounts for nearly one-third of all residential water use, totaling nearly nine billion gallons per day (EPA, 2013). Lawns are the single largest irrigated area in the United States, accounting for over 40 million irrigated acres, or four times the irrigated acreage of corn (Milesi et al. 2005). In the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (TCMA), approximately 20 percent of treated drinking water is used outdoors (City of Minnetonka, 2012), and summer water use is nearly three times greater on average than winter use (Metropolitan Council, 2014).

The objectives of this project are:
1) Assess lawns in the TCMA to determine water use patterns, irrigation system efficiencies, age of irrigation systems, acres of irrigated lawns, and general lawn characteristics
2) Use data generated in Objective 1 to inform research and demonstration projects related to in-ground irrigation system technologies in urban settings

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Metropolitan Council
Street Address
390 Robert Street North
Saint Paul
Zip Code
(651) 602-1519