A community policy of water conservation is crucial for lasting and meaningful change in the way we use water. It sets important norms for the residents and businesses and ensures safe and sustainable access. This starts with a comprehensive use plan with the local water supplier.
A water supply plan must be approved by the DNR for all Minnesota public water suppliers operating a public water distribution system, serving more than 1,000 people and all cities in the seven-county metropolitan area. Specific water conservation planning is included within the overall water supply plan.
- Water use planning
Minnesota law requires water suppliers to create a water supply plan for the community they serve. The benefits are increased capability to respond to drought, an initial plan for expansion, and ensured availability of the water sources.
Communities with water suppliers that serve more than 1000 people can find many resources to develop water use plans on these DNR web pages.
The Twin Cities Metropolitan Area Master Water Supply Plan provides a planning framework for communities in the metro area. See the Master Plan and resources in the link below.
A community plan is not required if your community doesn’t have a local water supplier and most water is from private wells. Comprehensive plans with other community members can ensure sustainable use and prevent strained aquifers.
- Water conservation planning
The DNR requires public water suppliers serving more than 1,000 residents to encourage water conservation by adopting demand-reduction measures. The plans include resources to help communities and water suppliers conserve water effectively, whether your community is rural or urban.
- Water conservation communication
Sustainable use is only possible when water users and water suppliers work together to reduce water consumption and waste. To achieve this conservation practices must be communicated, and the benefits that come with them.
Educating your community about water conservation isn’t just a good idea, it’s also required by the DNR as part of the Emergency and Water Conservation Plans. There are many existing resources to draw upon to educate your community on the importance of water conservation.
- The Minnesota Rural Water Association has a series of conservation ads, posters and bill stuffers on their website. Placing these ads (or ads like them) in publications, or putting these posters up in public buildings, can increase the visibility of water conservation as an issue.
- The EPA WaterSense Program has resources to communicate the need for water conservation such as fact sheets, information about efficient fixture upgrades, and more.