The EQB's new report, Beyond the Status Quo: 2015 Water Policy Report, proposes solutions to Minnesota's pressing water challenges
The report recommends options for reducing runoff, increasing infiltration on urban and agricultural lands, and identifying vulnerabilities to extreme rainfall to make communities more resilient. This water report details both the industry’s economic status and opportunities to improve water infrastructure, efficiency, and reuse.
“Too often we see economic growth and environmental stewardship as incompatible,” said Will Seuffert, Executive Director of the EQB. “With a nation-leading water industry growing at a rate three times the state economy, it is apparent that we can protect our water resources and grow our economy at the same time.”
“The Beyond the Status Quo report gives us a roadmap for promoting clean water and water conservation. It shows us how water can be a competitive advantage for Minnesota,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “Minnesota companies and communities are developing new solutions to prevent water pollution and reduce water consumption. This report tells this story, and gives us excellent direction for how to make progress.”
The water policy report is the result of collaboration across state agencies to identify goals and propose solutions to preserve and promote water quality and sustainability.
“We are fortunate to have abundant lakes and river resources in Minnesota. We need them to be fishable and swimmable, and the choices we make today affect Minnesota for decades to come,” said John Linc Stine, EQB member and commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The 2015 EQB Water Policy Report is organized as a menu of options to move beyond the status quo on water challenges. It provides a framework to continue a broad conversation on water policy with local and state implementation partners. The report includes voluntary and regulatory solutions as well as proposing system changes that harness market forces and look to change cultural expectations. Finally, in some areas, more study is needed to best determine how we take action. Key findings from the report include:
- Minnesota is a Global Leader in Water Technology – Water concerns are a global issue and Minnesota water technology industries are leading the way in innovations to clean, reuse and more efficiently use water around the world. This sector employs over 13,500 Minnesotans, pays above average wages and puts Minnesota in the top 10 states for water technology exports and patents.
- We Need to Protect Our Waters – Living plant cover and green infrastructure reduce runoff and increase infiltration in our urban and agricultural lands. These practices hold water on the landscape, filter contaminants and reduce runoff.
- We Need to Identify Vulnerabilities and Increase Resilience – Flooding is becoming a reality for more Minnesotans as extreme rainfall events increase. While not all parts of Minnesota have water supply issues, numerous wells show declines in recent years.
About the report
This report was prepared by the EQB, with the Board of Water and Soil Resources, Department of Agriculture, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Department of Health, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Transportation, Metropolitan Council, and Pollution Control Agency.