Reporting John Lauritsen
WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) — Minnesota is known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” But the DNR says the state’s water supply is becoming a concern.
The drought we’ve been in has caused major concerns in the southwest part of the state.
Lake levels in Fairmont are down two feet, and because of that the DNR isn’t allowing water to be taken from the lakes.
White Bear Lake has dropped five feet since they started keeping records on it.
The DNR says they need more funding to study what’s happening here and in other parts of the state.
“We know there are places in the state where we are using the groundwater faster than it’s being replenished by nature,” said Jason Moeckel of the DNR.
Moeckel said the drought is one thing, but an increase in population in the metro and agricultural irrigation in rural Minnesota, have put stress on the state’s water supply.
In addition, Moeckel said funding to study the problem has decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years, which is why he supports Gov. Dayton’s plan to add more money to research.
“We are going to be able to get more information on the water and what’s available. And more importantly, the how much we can use without jeopardizing our lakes, streams, and wetlands over time,” Moeckel said.
If the plan is approved you’d pay on average an extra 50 cents a year on your water bill.
“It’s an economic impact. It’s a quality of life issue,” said White Bear Lake Mayor Jo Emerson.
Emerson said businesses have suffered as the city’s lake levels have gone down. She’s open to anything that may help fix the problem and replenish the economy.
“The more research we have, the better we are going to be. It’s not just a White Bear Lake issue it’s a statewide issue,” Emerson said.
If this approved, not everyone would have to pay an extra 50 cents on their water bill.
Homeowners who use private wells, mostly in rural areas, would not be affected.
A hearing on the Governor’s proposal is scheduled for Tuesday in the House.