Farm Progress

Water Action Week underway across Minnesota

Dayton administration traveling the state to raise awareness about water quality and quantity challenges following the release of a 200-page summary on Governor's Water Summit held in February.

April 20, 2016

3 Min Read

Governor Mark Dayton and key members of his administration are marking Water Action Week in Minnesota by visiting school classrooms, water treatment facilities, research institutions and farms to encourage citizens to learn more about the challenges facing state waters and to take actions in their own lives to be part of the solution.

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“My father, Bruce Dayton, taught me that good stewardship is one of our most important responsibilities: to take what we have been given, or have acquired, and leave it in better condition for those who will inherit it from us,” Dayton said in a press release. “As Minnesotans, who have inherited this incredible state, we have no greater shared responsibility than our stewardship: to protect and improve the priceless natural resources, which we will pass on to our children and grandchildren. That wise stewardship is everyone's challenge and everyone's opportunity.”

The administration cites reports from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. EPA that says more 40% of Minnesota’s waters are impaired; aquatic invasive species have infested more than 550 lakes statewide; and that water treatment plants and clean drinking water systems are in serious disrepair. Some communities still rely on wooden pipes installed more than a century ago for their drinking water. One report says that Minnesota is $11 billion behind in maintaining its aging water treatment and delivery systems over the next 20 years and another report says initial well testing indicates that 60% of the wells in Central Minnesota may not be safe to drink from.

This week, Dayton and key members of his cabinet plan to make the following visits:

•Willow Lane Elementary, White Bear Lake, to see what Minnesota children are learning and doing to make a difference for water quality in their communities.

•University of Minnesota’s ‘Forever Green Field’ to discuss research and innovations that will improve land management practices, and contribute to cleaner water in Minnesota communities.

•McCarrons Water Treatment Plant, Saint Paul, to discuss the city’s efforts to assure clean, affordable water for its residents.

•Meeting with mayors and county commissioners from across Minnesota to discuss water quality challenges facing their communities.

•Water treatment plant in Austin, which is in need of replacement. The city would be eligible for state funds under the governor’s proposed clean water infrastructure initiative.

•A Mower County farmer who has installed buffers on his property.

On Friday, Dayton will hold a news conference to honor three “Water Action Heroes” in Minnesota.

Also, the governor’s office releases a 200-page summary of comments from the Feb. 27 Governor’s Water Summit that was held in St. Paul. The summit drew more than 800 people and focused attention on challenges facing Minnesota’s rural and urban water supplies. The summary is available online and offers inputs on nine topics affecting Minnesota’s waters: aquatic invasive species, resilience to extreme weather, iconic waters, sustaining our water supplies, water and wastewater infrastructure, water in the built environment, water in the rural environment, living cover and investing in clean water.

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