MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – After being forced to review the groundwater use around White Bear Lake, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources determined that the water usage was sustainable, even if each well user pumped the maximum amount of water allowed for years on end.

The DNR released the findings Wednesday, more than a year after a Ramsey County judge ruled for a review of groundwater permits within 5 miles of the north metro lake.

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Residents in the area had sued the DNR, claiming that the agency had mismanaged well permits, leading to water loss in the popular lake, which affected recreation.

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In a press release Wednesday, the DNR said it made a model of the lake’s groundwater flow and found that even if each permitted user in a 5-mile radius pumped the maximum amount allowed for years in row the lake would still meet the state sustainability standard.

Additionally, the agency said that water levels on White Bear Lake fluctuate naturally, adding that such fluctuations benefit the health of the lake’s ecosystem.

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Still, the DNR said that water loss beyond a certain point, 922 feet, can affect recreation on the lake. To keep the lake’s waters above that threshold, the department says it is now able to work with the individuals who use the most water to help ensure the lake can support recreation.