The State Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Clean Water Fund appropriation identified the northeast metro as an area where potential solutions are needed to address emerging water supply issues. Three projects are underway to identify the advantages and disadvantages of combining water supply systems, using new water supply sources such as treated water from Saint Paul Regional Water Services or raw water from the Mississippi or St. Croix rivers, and optimizing groundwater pumping to protect water levels in White Bear Lake and other lakes across the northeast metro.
The Metropolitan Council, in conjunction with the University of Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP), are exploring opportunities for water conservation by businesses in the eleven county metropolitan area. Opportunities for water conservation will be defined for three businesses through the dedicated resources of three MnTAP interns. The interns will analyze water conservation opportunities through full time work on site over the summers of 2014 and 2015.
The Twin Cities area is host to a nationally renowned system of regional parks that provides numerous outdoor recreational opportunities for the public while preserving green space for wildlife habitat. The Metropolitan Council is using this appropriation to partially finance the acquisition of approximately 195 acres to be added to existing metropolitan regional parks, with priority given to lands with shoreland, lands that provide important natural resource connections, and lands containing unique natural resources.
The Twin Cities area is host to a nationally renowned system of regional parks and trails that provides numerous outdoor recreational opportunities for the public while preserving green space for wildlife habitat and other natural resource benefits. Currently the regional parks and trails system consists of 51 parks and park reserves containing more than 54,000 acres, more than 300 miles of interconnected trails, and has more than 46 million visits each year.
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.
The Metropolitan Council, in conjunction with HDR Engineering, Inc. consultants, will evaluate a variety of approaches to develop sustainable water supplies across the metro area. Subregional study areas are being selected where multiple communities face potential problems with the long-term sustainability of current water supplies, and where community stakeholders have expressed interest in learning more about sustainable water supply options.
The Metropolitan Council is working with local partners to evaluate and address potential threats to the Seminary Fen, a calcareous wetland in southeastern Carver County. This rare and sensitive water feature, protected by Minnesota Statutes 103G.223, relies on the discharge of groundwater to sustain a unique and protected plant community. Growing communities near the fen also rely on groundwater for their water supply.
In 2005, Metropolitan Council was directed to carry out regional water supply planning activities under Minnesota Statutes, section 473.1565. Working closely with the region's many water supply stakeholders and under the guidance of both policy and a technical water supply advisory committees, Metropolitan Council supports regional groundwater planning and analysis in order to respond to emerging regional water supply issues and achieve sustainable water supplies.