Evaluation of Models and Tools for Assessing Groundwater Availability and Sustainability --Priorities for Investment

This report is produced in response to a resolution of the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board which directed the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to lead an evaluation of the models and tools that need to be developed for assessing water availability and sustainability. Core participants who had been involved in several previous and parallel efforts, and who are known for their expertise, were invited to continue discussions in a facilitated forum. As a result of the forum, the group reached significant agreement regarding the type, accuracy, and precision of information needed to make wise management decisions. This document presents a three-pronged approach – monitoring, mapping, and management – to achieve sustainable groundwater management in the face of increasing demand for water resources in growing urban, industrial, and agricultural areas. Implementation of this report's recommendations will deepen our understanding of groundwater systems' character and function and their relationships to our land use management practices, surface water systems, and ecological and public health. The information contained in this report represents a consensus reached by the members of the Groundwater Technical Workgroup after lengthy and robust discussion. The group sought the latest information regarding water usage and replacement; they discussed the primary weaknesses and strengths of different assessment tools, and they reviewed the data that must be collected to make these approaches effective for a long-term management strategy. As a result, the recommendations in this report represent something unique – broad agreement among water resource professionals regarding how to approach sustainable water resource management. The strong assumption this report makes is that all Minnesotans desire sustainable economies, strong public health, highly-functioning ecosystems, and the high quality of life enjoyed in this state – all of which are supported by a stable and abundant supply of water. Therefore, this report is presented with the hope that the findings and recommendations will be seriously considered with future generations in mind.
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Minnesota Water Research Digital Library
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