Water Policy Plan Research

In this planning cycle for the Water Resources Policy Plan, we started our work with research to make sure the 2050 water policies are responsive to current and future challenges. The goals are to:

  • Develop and share our current understanding of issues.
  • Identify current policy connections or gaps.
  • Propose draft policies and strategy recommendations to ensure sustainable water resources.

Environmental Services staff are writing seven research papers investigating current and future water concerns and recommendations for the metro region. These papers will be rolling out over the next few months. The papers are linked below.

These papers are a first step in defining the region’s water concerns for the 2050 plan update. While not all the draft recommendations will make it into the final Water Resources Policy Plan, they will spark conversations with stakeholders that help work toward sustainable water resources. The 2050 Water Resources Policy Plan will outline local planning requirements and the Met Council’s commitments for water supply, water resources, wastewater planning, and the operation of the regional wastewater treatment system.
People kayaking on a lake

Protecting our Region's Water Quality

The Twin Cities metro region is shaped by the water that moves through it. But these resources are threatened by pollutant-loaded runoff, current and emerging contaminants, and the uncertainties of climate change. Many of these waters have more than one of these harmful impacts; without strong action, these impacts will get worse.

Water reuse

Exploring Water Reuse

Water reuse is a tool to help offset offset the impact of contamination, increased demand for drinking water, and other factors. The two primary forms of reuse currently used in Minnesota are nonpotable (not used for drinking water) stormwater and wastewater reuse. After appropriate treatment, both stormwater and wastewater can be reused for a variety of purposes, including for flushing toilets, irrigating crops, and supporting industrial processes.

Apple Valley water tower

Protecting Source Water Areas

Rivers, lakes, and aquifers are the sources that supply public water systems and private wells. Source water protection is a community effort to prevent pollution before it reaches these water sources and becomes a public health and economic problem.

Wastewater treatment plant

Wastewater Planning and Service

Our region needs high-quality, affordable, and sustainable wastewater collection and treatment services to prosper and grow. To maintain our current level of service, we need to plan for and address challenges including aging infrastructure, excessive groundwater and stormwater in wastewater pipes, new treatment methods and technologies, and changing regulations.

People in the water at sunset.

Water and Climate Change

Acute and chronic changes to weather patterns, including temperature and precipitation, pose significant risks to the water resources we rely on for drinking, recreation, and economic productivity. Negative impacts threaten the reliability of water infrastructure and service delivery, and the predictability of the regulatory environment,

People kayaking on a lake

Protecting Rural Waters

Rural areas are important for natural resource protection and groundwater recharge for drinking water wells. Protecting our rural lands and understanding rural water concerns are crucial for achieving sustainable water resources within the metro region.