Drought exhausting state’s water supply

Published 9:40 am Friday, October 19, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS — Drought conditions are straining water supplies in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, leading Minnesota officials on Thursday to urge residents to cut back on their water use.

Some companies in Minnesota have even been ordered to switch from streams to alternative supplies.

State officials are asking residents to forgo such things as watering their lawns and trees or washing their cars. Farmers and businesses also are being asked to curtail their water use.

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“We’re encouraging all nonessential uses to really be curtailed and stopped,” Department of Natural Resources official Dave Leuthe said during a conference call with reporters. “It really is a statewide guidance.”

It took longer for the drought to be felt in Minnesota than other states. But updated data from the U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday showed that nearly half the state is now in a severe or extreme drought, while the rest of the state is in at least a moderate drought.

“Our soil moisture profile is dust in many places. Steam flows are low. Lake and wetland levels are down. Shallow aquifers are low,” State Climatologist Greg Spoden said.