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Regulating Withdrawals of Water from Rivers and Reservoirs

The DNR’s Water Appropriation Permit Program office manages surface and ground water withdrawals in the state. State law requires an appropriation permit for withdrawals exceeding either 10,000 gallons per day or one million gallons per year (MN Stat. 6115.0620). The DNR evaluates each water appropriation permit application to determine potential impacts on the water resource, other resource users, and fish and wildlife habitat, and assesses the efficiency of the proposed water use. Local governments may review and comment on permit applications for withdrawals within their jurisdiction prior to the DNR’s granting the permit. The DNR maintains the right to restrict withdrawals to protect the resource.

Minnesota statutes identify the priority of water uses during periods of limited water availability. Water uses, ranked according to highest priority, are as follows:

  1. domestic water supply and power production that meets contingency planning requirements;
  2. withdrawals of less than 10,000 gallons per day;
  3. irrigation and processing of agricultural products;
  4. power production that does not meet contingency planning requirements;
  5. industrial and commercial water uses, and;
  6. nonessential water uses.

Table 4.2 Federal, State and Local Agencies and Their River Management Activities


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