Archived Story

Editorial: Search for water sources offers many lessons

Published 9:58am Wednesday, April 2, 2014

In a state with the motto “Land of 10,000 Lakes” and in a city named Cold Spring, many folks might believe finding high-quality water sources would be no big deal.

Unfortunately, it is. Witness the long-running challenge the city, Cold Spring Brewery and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are trying to solve.

The three entities have spent the past several years trying to find a new water source for the growing brewery after increased use of its current source — an underground aquifer — is depleting a nearby trout stream.

As a recent MPR News report noted, there’s nothing to indicate finding another source will happen soon, that a solution will be affordable to the brewery and the city, or that all the effects of depleting the aquifer are known at this time.

While it’s good that all three groups continue to work together, this situation offers Central Minnesotans a great example about the importance of managing groundwater supplies statewide. It also provides a teachable moment about those efforts and how residents can influence them.

Driven in part by situations like Cold Spring’s and other places across the state where groundwater supplies have become an issue, legislators have mandated the DNR to oversee this valuable resource. Just last session, lawmakers agreed to spend $7 million to support enhanced water management programs, and $3 million for statewide mapping and establishment of groundwater management areas.

Those funds have helped the DNR create its Draft Groundwater Strategic Plan, available online at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/gwmp/index.html.

If you don’t have Web access, you can request a copy by calling the DNR at 651-296-6157 or 1-888-MINNDNR. You also can write for a report to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4040.

As the report and website stress, the DNR wants input from Minnesotans about this plan, which must meet the agency’s overall mission statement of “working with citizens to conserve and manage the state’s natural resources, to provide outdoor recreation opportunities, and to provide for commercial uses of natural resources in a way that creates a sustainable quality of life.”

Just ask the city of Cold Spring, Cold Spring Brewery and the DNR — that can be a delicate balance to strike.

— St. Cloud Times, March 31