Clean and abundant water remains a natural gem for Minnesota. It also is threatened from an increasing number of sources.
Better protecting our groundwater and surface water is something that easily garners support from Minnesotans. The Legislature is considering two pieces of legislation that deserve support.
HF 3888 by Rep. Kelly Morrison, DFL-Hopkins, and SF 3633 by Sen. Jennifer McEwen, DFL-Duluth, would provide $650,000 to the Water Council that would help ensure Minnesota has clean water for the next 50 years.
The bill would appropriate $650,000 to be used by the Water Council to study current water resources and develop plans that Minnesotans can use to protect an adequate water supply for at least 50 years to come.
The Water Council is hosted by the University of Minnesota and is a consortium of water quality groups in the state.
Another bill sponsored by Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, would spend more than $7 million from the Clean Water Fund on pollution control and water projects. The bill doesn't yet have a Senate companion.
The Clean Water Fund was one of four funds created when Minnesota voters approved the Legacy Amendment in 2008. The fund is used to pay for projects that protect, enhance or restore the state's surface, ground and drinking water resources.
The legislation would direct $2.7 million to the University of Minnesota to study water's role in transporting chronic wasting disease prions and $1.75 million for the Health Department to address public health concerns related to contaminants found in drinking water.
Most of the remaining funds would go to the Health Department, Metropolitan Council and the Pollution Control Agency to address a variety of issues, including contamination of private wells and to establish water quality standards for perfluorooctanoic and perfluorooctanesulfonic acids.
So far Minnesota isn't showing signs of a coming water crisis that is and will hit much of the United States, particularly in the west and southwest. But Minnesotans want to ensure the future here includes abundant and clean sources of water to drink and to enjoy recreationally.