Public Water Supply Plans

Public water suppliers serving more than 1,000 people are required to incorporate demand reduction measures into their water supply plan. However, all communities, independent of size, can benefit by adopting conservation measures that save money and protect water resources for long-term economic growth.

In addition, all communities that have public water supplies in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area are required to prepare water supply plans as part of their local comprehensive plans (Minnesota Statutes 473.859). Those communities should use the DNR Water Supply Plan materials to satisfy that requirement. See Metropolitan Council - Water Supply Planning for more information.

Water Supply Plan Template

Please download the template and save the document with a file name that identifies your community. The template is a form that can be completed electronically and requires information to be provided in specified boxes. If you have questions or problems down loading or using the template, please call 651-259-5661 or send an email to

Water Supply Plan approvals may also include approval for increased water volumes and for new wells that are planned over the ten year life of the plan. The request for ten year permit approvals as part of the Water Supply Plan is optional and would most likely benefit growing communities that anticipate large increases in water use or a number of new wells over the next ten years. To qualify for the ten year permit approval certain benchmarks or conservation measures are required along with adequate documentation on the need for increased water volumes and new wells. Your DNR Ecological and Water Resources Area Hydrologist PDF icon. can assist with your questions about this permit option.

Demand Reduction Measures

Public water suppliers serving more than 1,000 people are required to incorporate demand reduction measures into their water supply plan. However, all communities, independent of size, can benefit by adopting conservation measures that save money and protect water resources for long-term economic growth.

The statutory language and time frame, as well as guidelines for demand reduction measures, are found in Minnesota Statutes, section 103G.291 subdivisions 3 and 4. They are further described in Demand Reduction Measures PDF icon. for public water suppliers.

The demand reduction measures must be in use by January 1, 2015 or before requesting well construction approval from the Department of Health or before requesting an increase in permitted volume for a water appropriation permit from the DNR. However, communities with approved water supply plans are required to begin implementing the demand reduction measures agreed to in their plans as soon as possible.

Resources for Plan Development

The following items are resources that may be helpful for developing your Water Supply Plan:

Resources for Sustainability

The second generation of Water Supply Plans now incorporate the concept of sustainability. Sustainable water use is defined as the use of water for the needs of society, now and in the future, without unacceptable social, economic, or environmental consequences. Water withdrawals by public water suppliers and other users can impact natural resources and other water users. The potential for impacts must be considered when planning for development of new water sources or increased water withdrawals. The following list of resources can help determine the location of natural resources of special concern and the location of other water wells.

  • Ground Water Sustainability Defined and Examined - General information about the sustainable use of ground water.
  • Trout Streams - Minnesota Statutes (103G.285, Subd. 5) and Rules (6115.0670, Subp. 3 B) prohibit water withdrawals that impact designated trout streams. A list of designated trout streams is found in Minnesota Rules (6264.0050, Subpart 4).
  • Calcareous Fens - These are unique wetlands that require an upwelling of groundwater similar to a spring to survive and can be impacted by groundwater withdrawals. These wetlands are protected under Minnesota Statutes (103G.223) from being wholly or partially degraded. (List of known calcareous fens PDF icon.)
  • Public Waters Inventory - Public waters wetlands include all type 3, type 4, and type 5 wetlands (as defined in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Circular No. 39, 1971 edition) that are 10 acres or more in size in unincorporated areas or 2.5 acres or more in size in incorporated areas (see Minnesota Statutes Section 103G.005). DNR Waters utilizes county-scale maps to show the general location of the public waters and public waters wetlands (lakes, wetlands, and watercourses) under its regulatory jurisdiction. These maps are commonly known as Public Waters Inventory (PWI) maps.
  • Wetland Conservation Act - To retain the benefits of wetlands and reach the legislation's goal of no-net-loss of wetlands, the Wetland Conservation Act requires anyone proposing to drain, fill, or excavate a wetland first to try to avoid disturbing the wetland; second, to try to minimize any impact on the wetland; and, finally, to replace any lost wetland acres, functions, and values. See: Board of Water and Soil Resources Wetland Conservation Act information.
  • Mt. Simon-Hinckley Aquifer Guidance Paper - The Mt. Simon-Hinckley aquifer is the deepest formation in the Twin City Metropolitan Area and is protected as a drinking water source. This aquifer can only be used as a potable water supply when there are no other alternatives and conservation measures are being implemented. See: Mt. Simon-Hinckley aquifer Guidance Paper.
  • Observation Wells - There are around 750 observation wells located around the state that may provide useful information on water level trends for aquifers in your area. Ground water level data are available online.
  • Climate Data - There are over 1400 volunteer precipitation observers located across Minnesota. Climate data may provide useful insights into water level trends in your area. Minnesota's climate data are available online.
  • County Well Index - The County Well Index can be used to identify wells located near a project area and can help determine potential for well interference problems. Please be aware that the County Well Index is not a complete list of wells and additional survey efforts may be necessary to identify all potential water supplies within a specified radius of a proposed production well. See: Department of Health - County Well Index Online.

This web page is intended to provide information that will be useful for developing Water Supply Plans. If you have any suggestions or identify any problems, please contact us at 651-259-5661 or The DNR Waters Area Hydrologist for the county in which your community is located can also help with questions about plans.

Water Level Monitoring

Water Supply Plans may include actions for measuring water levels and reporting these to DNR Waters. Electronic forms for reporting the water level measurements from wells and surface water are available through the links below. Use these forms to record and save the water level measurements. Completed forms can be emailed to the DNR Data System Coordinator. Paper copies of these forms are available upon request.

Other Resources

Emergency Response

Water Conservation