Drinking Water Protection
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Environmental Health Division
Drought Resources for Public Water Systems
Drought conditions present numerous challenges for Minnesota’s Public Water Systems. They can impact water quality and quantity, put stress on water operators and customers, and necessitate changes in how water is used on a daily basis.
The Minnesota Department of Health’s Drinking Water Protection Program works in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) - the state’s lead agency for drought/water quantity issues - to provide information to Minnesota’s public water systems regarding the ongoing drought.
Where can I get more information about the drought situation?
Anyone can sign up to receive the weekly drought update, released each Monday, that includes information about current drought status, fire danger and state burning restrictions, and sample stream flows and lake levels.
Subscribers also will receive State Drought Task Force meeting summaries and agendas. The DNR convened the task force in July, when Minnesota entered the Drought Warning Phase. The State Drought Task Force comprises 21 state, federal, tribal, regional and local agencies and organizations with water-related responsibilities.
DNR’s web resources, Drought in Minnesota, include current information on water conservation efforts, lake level and river flow data, drought and streamflow maps, and a new table providing information about temporary water appropriation suspensions by watershed.
Drought checklist and guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Incident Action Checklists for Water Utilities
- Drought Response and Recovery Guide for Water Utilities
The National Integrated Drought Information System
Drought Planning and Response
Public waters systems may wish to contact MNWARN for assistance in case of an emergency such as when systems have no water, are in need of emergency generators due to loss of power due to grid overload, need additional staffing for response efforts, etc. Water systems should have plans in place to provide for alternative sources of drinking water (such as bottled water), should water quality or quantity become an issue.
Risk and Resilience Assessments required under America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA) for water systems serving over 3,300 people are a good reference. These contingency plans can be referenced for drought planning and response related to water quantity and quality issues.
All public water supplies serving over 1,000 people must have a water supply plan approved by the DNR. Measures described in these plans must be implemented including water use demand reduction directed by the DNR based on drought severity.
Public water systems which are encountering issues related to drought can contact their district engineer or district sanitarian for assistance and to help determine where to find additional information.
- District engineer: Community Public Water Supply Unit: Contacts and Districts (PDF)
- Distict sanitarian: Noncommunity Public Water Supply Unit: Field Staff and Districts (PDF)
This webpage will be updated as more information becomes available.