Water Supply Basics

By 2040, the region is projected to grow by 500,000 people, 200,000 households, and 200,000 jobs. Understanding changing water supply needs and securing a sustainable supply of plentiful, clean water for these growing communities is the primary goal of our water supply planning work.

Water- upply basics map

Metro water supplies

The seven-county Twin Cities metro area covers 186 cities and townships and includes more than 100 water utilities.

Groundwater: Private wells 
Groundwater: Municipal wells  
Groundwater + Surface water: Municipal wells, intakes
Surface water: Municipal intakes  
Private (domestic) well

Metro water uses

The metro uses water for a variety of purposes. A breakdown of uses across the metro area:

Public water system
Special categories & water level maintenance
Industrial processing  
Private domestic 
Metro water uses
Water source

Water sources

Drinking water for the area comes from two sources — surface water and groundwater — and is supplied through public municipal supply or private wells.
Population using public/municipal supply: Groundwater 54% 
Population using surface water 25%  
Population using private wells 21%

Changing water supply

Evidence is mounting that Minnesota’s climate is changing, including in the seven-county metro area. The most recent National Climate Assessment (NCA), produced by the U.S. Global Change Research Program in 2018, synthesizes climate change impacts by sector and by region. The report from the Midwest regional chapter of the NCA highlights current and future impacts related to climate change within Minnesota.

State climatologists are confident that Minnesota’s warming temperatures and increasingly severe flood events will trend upwards in the coming decades, impacting the state's water resources. Changes in precipitation patterns may lead to more frequent floods and droughts, and water temperature may increase as a result of increasing summer and winter temperatures.

We are learning more about how climate change will impact the Twin Cities metro area and have produced recommendations and tools for communities and other stakeholders. Learn more about our analysis.