Water restrictions on tap with St. Croix Watershed in drought warning

22 July 2023

All public water suppliers in the St. Croix Watershed must implement water restrictions after a drought watch turned into a drought warning, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The Minnesota portion of the watershed includes parts of Washington, Anoka, Isanti, Chisago, Pine, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Carlton and Aitkin counties and an extreme northeast portion of Ramsey County, the DNR said in a news release Friday.

Under the state’s drought management plan, the DNR will now work with the state’s drought taskforce to take action as drought conditions “continue and intensify in parts of the state.”

More than 80 percent of Minnesota is experiencing “abnormally dry and/or moderate drought conditions,” according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday.

In addition, 17 percent of the state is in severe drought, which is up from 11 percent last week. The portion of the state experiencing extreme drought is now 1.5 percent, up from none last week.

“Even in a state with 10,000 lakes — actually, 11,842 of at least 10 acres in size — it is important for all residents to have a water conservation mindset,” said Minnesota DNR Climatologist Kenny Blumenfeld. “It is important for all water users to look at how much water they’re using and commit to using less, not just during drought but on an ongoing basis.”

Suspension and restrictions on water appropriation permits will begin Sunday. The DNR will contact permit holders “directly if and when permit suspensions will be required.”

More information can be found at the DNR’s drought webpage at mndnr.gov/climate/drought.

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