Drought prompts DNR action

Drought conditions are straining Minnesota’s water resources. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging everyone to adopt water conservation measures.

“We are in the second year of a drought, and it is time for all of us to take water conservation seriously,” said Tom Landwehr, DNR commissioner.

DNR is asking agricultural, commercial and industrial water users to stop outdoor irrigation and to implement conservation measures. Everyone with a DNR permit for water appropriation should abide by the conditions and begin conserving water as soon as possible.

“Drought conditions are sobering and call for a collaborative response,” Landwehr said. “At a time that per capita water consumption is decreasing nationwide, Minnesota’s water use per resident is increasing. We need to work together to meet these challenges.”

Public water suppliers have been reminded to conduct water audits and leak detection, and to promote water conservation to their customers.

Examples of how drought conditions are straining the state’s water resources include:

• Nearly one-half of the state is in severe drought or worse; severe drought is considered a one in 10-year event; extreme drought is considered a one in 20-year event.

• The extent and geographic distribution of the current drought is rivaling the extreme drought event of the late 1980s.

• Large areas of Minnesota have missed the equivalent of two summertime month’s worth of rain.

• Soil moisture levels are at or below all-time low values for the end of September.

• White Bear Lake’s water level has hit its lowest point on record.