Groundwater Management

pond near farmland

Groundwater is vital to Minnesota's present and future prosperity. Groundwater is at risk of overuse and contamination in several areas of the state.

Groundwater Strategic Plan

The DNR's legal responsibility is the management of large users of water in the state. The DNR is also leading all Minneasotans towards sustainable groundwater use through the Draft Groundwater Strategic Plan.

The plan proposes strategies to:

  • Improve information about our groundwater resources
  • Reinforce partnerships to provide support for sustainable groundwater use
  • Improve compliance with existing groundwater regulations
  • Assure permits for large water appropriations provide sustainable supplies of groundwater
  • Concentrate actions in areas of high groundwater use and/or limited groundwater supply

Download the plan

Groundwater Management Areas

The Minnesota legislature created groundwater management areas as a tool for the DNR to address difficult groundwater-related resource challenge.

Groundwater Projects

Cold Spring Creek Groundwater Study

The DNR is collecting data and developing a groundwater flow model to evaluate the impacts of pumping on Cold Spring Creek.

Groundwater Thresholds Project

The Groundwater Thresholds Project examines the effects of groundwater use on streams, lakes, and wetlands. The project report includes recommendations for statutory definitions, as well as recommendations for thresholds for negative impacts to surface waters from groundwater use.

Lake Nokomis / Lake Hiawatha Evaluation Area

The DNR is collaborating with local residents, the City of Minneapolis, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, and the Minneapolis Park Board to understand groundwater and surface water conditions near Lake Nokomis and Lake Hiawatha. Information, along with technical data and analysis, is available with the City of Minneapolis.

Little Rock Creek Area Sustainable Use of Groundwater Project

The DNR is planning for the sustainable and continued use of groundwater in the Little Rock Creek area. The Draft Action Plan lays out the steps the DNR will take over the next five years to understand the relationship between groundwater use and the ecosystems of Little Rock Creek.

White Bear Lake Report

In 2015, the Minnesota legislature direct the DNR to prepare cost estimates for augmenting White Bear Lake with Mississippi River water taken from the Sucker Lake Chain of Lakes. The report was delivered to the legislature in January 2016.