Welcome to the Governor’s Water Summit online public forum

Governor Mark Dayton is convening the first-ever Governor's Water Summit to focus public attention on the challenges facing Minnesota’s water supplies and encourage conversation about solutions to those problems.

This forum is your chance to join in the dialogue, whether you attend the summit or not. Your ideas will help Governor Dayton’s administration and elected officials prioritize water quality challenges and solutions for our state.

Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • What are the biggest challenges you see for Minnesota’s water?
  • What steps must be taken to address those challenges?
  • What’s working well now? What could work better?

Be sure to check out the list of Topics that are the focus of the Governor's Water Summit here or above.

How to join the conversation:

  • Submit an idea of your own. Click the “Submit New Idea” button at the upper right of this page. Add a title and description to help others understand it.
  • “Like” an idea that someone else has posted. Click the up or down arrows to the right of the idea title. This helps lend support to the best ideas generated in this forum.
  • Comment on an idea. Click the box below the idea and type your comment. This is a good way to add more information, share closely related ideas, or ask clarifying questions.

Still have questions? See our Quick Start Guide.

To see all ideas created with a specific tag, you can click on a word or phrase under "What we're discussing". You can also view ideas sorted by Tabs such as Recent, Random, or My Ideas.

Water Summit

Change agriculture - an overview

The biggest water problem is the way Americans do agriculture. Giant corporations own giant farms, which are farmed with extensive use of irrigation water and chemicals, depleting soils, creating disease, destroying pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Subsidies, regulations, and tax structures encourage them. Solution: Support transition to crops requiring less water and fewer chemicals. Increase support for cover ...more »

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Water Summit

Stop wasting rainwater

Heavy rains are a problem. They run off pavements, get poisoned, are funneled into storm sewers, and have to be managed. In the country they run off depleted soils, damage bridges and roads, and create floods. Some solutions have already been proposed. This overview emphasizes education, changing building codes and regulations, and removing financial barriers. Homes: Encourage homeowners to use rain water – watering ...more »

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Water Summit

Property taxes must serve public values

Presently, properties are taxed at their "highest and best use." Unfortunately that is defined as the use most involved in the economic system - for instance, to clearcut a forest, or to turn a farm into a parking lot, rather than to provide wildlife habitat, produce oxygen, or support bees and butterflies. This is phrased inclusively, with water benefits as one important factor. The value of land needs to be redefined, ...more »

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Water Summit

County and Township Road Conversion

The popular US Farm Report pointed-out that in the settlement days of yesteryear, when county and township road spacing was specified in opening the wilderness to farming, many, many more residents filled the rural communities and they needed all of that road maintenance done. However, given the giant size of farms in the tens of thousands of acres, instead of hundreds or less, so many of those rural roads should reasonably ...more »

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Water Summit

It's Time to Charge Heavy Water Users (Like Factory Farms) for Water

Industrial animal agriculture a/k/a factory farms have the benefit of free water in the State of Minnesota. There is a reason these large industrial-sized operations are here in Minnesota. While there is a small permit fee of $150 for factory farms that require more than 1 million gallons of water, there is no charge for the water. There are nearly 18,000 registered feedlots in Minnesota. Of those, approximately 1,219 ...more »

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Water Summit

Who Watches the Watchers?

The counties administer Chapter 7080, the septic code. However, there is no oversight. The professionals fear retribution should they turn their county in for obvious and blatant violations. The result is that the counties do as they want. They decide what they "feel" like enforcing. They rarely do enforcement because of the paperwork. They do not file the proper paperwork when they are on the site or worse they ...more »

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Water Summit

Follow the money.....

The PCA charges the counties with administration of Chapter 7080, they also give the counties $10,000 to that end. However, there are hundreds of municipalities and townships with their own programs, governed by the same rules and never receive one red cent from either the PCA or the Counties in the administration of this program. Without proper resources how well do you think they manage the program. Just because ...more »

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Water Summit

Lake Management

Currently, the DNR manages our lakes like a teenager babysitter with a cell phone. Unless they smell smoke they are doing something else. What is needed is Lake Managers with specialties in lake types and local hydrology/geology and biology to manage each water body. There are lakes 50 miles from St. Paul with Phosphorus levels over 400 ppb. Does the DNR do anything? Do they have or use restoration plans? No. ...more »

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Water Summit

Grid Failure Water Supply Plan?

I don't know the answer, but the question is intriguing: Just how would Twin Cities and out-state families get clean water, in the event of a terrorist attack on the electrical power grid? Would generators run wastewater treatment plants? Would folks have to flush with creek water? Bathe with boiled stream or rainwater? Some have argued that it's not a matter of how this will occur, it's when. But tornado violence has ...more »

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Water Summit

Connected Water Safety Monitoring Devices

Hotter waters and growing populations conspire to produce deadly illnesses in our shallow lakes and streams. The state can't afford someone to go out, sample, and test for pathogens everywhere it's possible to find them. Yet the public has a right to know and be warned, if they don't. Automated biological sensors should be installed in those areas of circulation, so as to gather constant streams of data about what's in ...more »

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Water Summit

Realities of the problem....

Minnesota has some big water problems, and some real worries, but... Just look at the map: -It's 87-thousand square miles, and half are farms. -There are 5.5-million people here. -10-thousand lakes with cabins and resorts. -Over 300 towns and cities. In tight state and local budgets, government can't do much. But upgrading plans to redesign the Twin Cities water and chemical runoff, energy, and sanitation infrastructure, ...more »

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Water Summit

Free UMN Extension Raingarden and Cistern Design and Advice

Retaining Twin Cities' rainwater in rock-filled cisterns, both above and below ground, and 'rain-garden' design work for flowers and native plant life, will need to be mosquito and mildew-proofed. Lawn chemical runoff can be creatively controlled, but classes on the aesthetics may need examples from British and Canadian experience. UMN resources of graduate students just may fill the gap in guiding folks to the Governor's ...more »

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Water Summit

Subterranean Sinkhole Safety

Constructing tunnel labyrinth for the flow-processing of raw sewage wastewater below ground within the limestone and sandstone layers under the Twin Cities is a safe way of reinforcing those layers against collapsing into sinkholes. This is a major problem in areas of changing groundwater tables, especially given the size and weight of downtown buildings and water retention pools on the surface above. Natural water ...more »

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Water Summit

Pigs Eye Retention Wall

'100-year' floods have been occurring in the Twin Cities, in recent years, with a striking new frequency. Washing waste and lawn chemical runoff into the system, then on to the river raw, is unacceptable. Barrier walls for Holman Field and Pigs Eye Lake should be constructed to maximum of 30-50 foot height for storm drain water treatment in the lake, and to a lesser extent to prevent inundation of the runways at the airport. ...more »

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Water Summit

Irrigation-Users' Groundwater Quality Reports Via Satellite

Tracking progress on farm contributions to groundwater table contamination, and their seasonal sways, should be monitored through wifi or satellite connected pump and valve sensors. And that raw data should be transmitted along with the same from tile and pond water recycling efforts, to a Minnesota state compilation site for ongoing analysis and comparisons. Licensed wellheads and inspected monitoring systems would encourage ...more »

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Displaying 1 - 15 of 202 Ideas