Once thought to have an essentially inexhaustible groundwater supply, Minnesotans are now realizing our rates of use are regionally unsustainable. Recent advanced modeling by the MN DNR and Metropolitan Council of aquifer supplies, in conjunction with predicted demand, indicate the major metropolitan area aquifers are currently subject to extraction rates that exceed recharge. Simply stated, we are mining our groundwater.
The Carver County Planning and Water Management Department (PWM) has an active well sealing cost share program. Following the adoption of the updated County Groundwater Plan in February of 2016, the Carver County Board of Commissioners moved to accelerate the program to encourage landowners to seal abandoned wells. Carver County is looking to supplement existing funds, as demand is expected to increase. With this additional funding, it is the goal of Carver County PWM to seal an additional 15 wells county wide.
The Drinking Water Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) program identifies environmental contaminants for which current health-based standards currently do not exist or need to be updated, investigate the potential for human exposure to these chemicals, and develop guidance values for drinking water. Contaminants evaluated by CEC staff include contaminants that have been released or detected in Minnesota waters (surface water and groundwater) or that have the potential to migrate to or be detected in Minnesota waters.
For several decades, community members, lake associations, county officials, and local natural resource professionals have targeted Lake Wakanda in Kandiyohi County to improve water quality. This community led team, is working to address conservation issues within the watershed and the deeply degraded waters caused by years of altered hydrology, increased urban stormwater runoff, and increased agricultural pressures. This grant application is a phase I approach to resolving these issues by focusing on watershed management in Kandi Creek, a tributary into Lake Wakanda.
McLeod County will create an inspection database for 103E ditches under their drainage authority. The County will acquire a database software solution to conduct field inspections and to track ditch maintenance projects. This software will be used to facilitate statutory compliance including developing a process for completing the annual inspection and reporting requirements. The project will lead to improving the County's data management capabilities and better identification of drainage system needs that could lead to helping improve water courses that are impaired for turbidity.
Ensuring natural resource practitioners are applying state-of-the-art approaches is the best way to achieve optimum Best Management Practice (BMP) selection, design, and placement in the landscape, thereby maximizing Clean Water Fund (CWF) benefits. To that end, it is critical to train new staff, create modeling protocols for new BMPs, refine and calibrate models, and test ever-advancing modeling applications.
Approximately 70 percent of all Minnesotans rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. Wells used for drinking water must be properly sealed when removed from service to protect both public health and Minnesota’s invaluable groundwater resources. The Minnesota Department of Health protects both public health and groundwater by assuring the proper sealing of unused wells.
Clean Water funds are being provided to well owners as a 50% cost-share assistance for sealing unused public water-supply wells.