Reliable, sustainable water supplies are critical for economic wellbeing and environmental health. However, groundwater use might not be sustainable where it has a negative impact on aquifers, lakes, streams, wetlands or other groundwater users.
The Minnesota legislature created groundwater management areas (GWMAs) as a tool for the DNR to address these difficult groundwater-related resource challenges.
The DNR initiated three pilot groundwater management areas. They are: the North and East Metro GWMA, the Straight River GWMA, and the Bonanza Valley GWMA.
Each of these projects were done in consultation with stakeholders to produce DNR action plans. While the areas share a basic organizational structure, they were launched at different times and reflect their unique hydrology and groups of permitted water users.
The DNR has applied the knowledge gained in the pilot GWMAs to address groundwater-related management challenges in other areas across Minnesota.
Minnesota State Law - 2012
"Subd. 4.Groundwater management areas.
(a) The commissioner may designate groundwater management areas and limit total annual water appropriations and uses within a designated area to ensure sustainable use of groundwater that protects ecosystems, water quality, and the ability of future generations to meet their own needs…"
MS 103G.287, subd. 4