Water Resources Policy Plan Update

2050 planning for our region's waters

The Metropolitan Council is updating the current Water Resources Policy Plan for the waters of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. It outlines water supply, water resources, and wastewater policies to align local and regional water priorities, set guidelines and expectations about our regional wastewater system, and help the region plan for future water needs.

Water is foundational to the quality of life for Twin Cities residents — we play on the shores and in the water, we take in solace and connection with water, we draw our drinking waters from rivers and aquifers, and water supports the region's economy. Taking a regional, integrated approach to water is vital to ensure efficient and effective water resources management. The Water Resources Policy Plan is the Met Council's guiding document to implement that approach.

Over time, new, regional water challenges and opportunities arise. The region needs to look ahead to address new water concerns and create policy to safeguard sustainable water resources for the future.

This policy plan is legislatively mandated to be updated every 10 years.

The planning cycle

Every planning cycle begins with information from the U.S. Census, where we learn how our population has changed over the last decade. This allows us to forecast population growth into the future. With that information, Council staff begins to engage with water professionals; water-focused nonprofit organizations; federal, state, and local government staff; and residents to hear about regional water values and concerns. The Council proposes policies to address water issues, gathers input, and adopts policies that advances efforts to secure clean waters for future generations.

Graphic of the regional planning cycle. Steps include census results, system plans, and implementation.

Timeline and milestones

This plan is created through policy research, stakeholder engagement, and the drafting and adoption of water policy and actions aimed at implementing the adopted policy. From now through 2025, we will research, draft, and gather feedback for the plan. The research phase will end in early 2023, followed by our first round of engagement. This will give us a chance to share and listen to our residents, along with city, watershed, state, and tribal partners, about the pressing regional water issues that should be integrated into this plan. In mid-2023 through 2024, we will begin to draft policy, continue to engage our Council members, partner organizations, and residents with the work, and finalize the 2050 plan policies, with the Met Council ideally adopting the plan by March 2025.

2050 planning timeline stretching from 2022 to 2026. Timeline depicts research, engagement, and plan adoption within this time.

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Comprehensive regional planning

The Water Resources Policy Plan is one of four systems that the Met Council plans for as a part of the regional planning process. We also plan for our regional parks system and the transportation system, which includes the airport system information. We also create policies for land use, water resources, and housing. Find more information about planning.