Twin Cities WRS Seminar

Legislative Water Commission Recommendations for Minnesota Water Resources Protection, Policy and Education


Jim Stark
Minnesota's Legislative Water Commission

February 15, 2019


In 2008, Minnesota’s citizens passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the Constitution that dedicated a portion of the state sale’s tax for water. These funds, in excess of 100 million dollars per year, created the Clean Water Fund which is managed by the Clean Water Council. These resources created significant opportunities to achieve a sustainable water future for our state. In 2009, the Legislature directed the University of Minnesota to prepare implementation guidelines. Those guidelines, and other plans, have helped water planning over the past decade. Much has been accomplished, including research, monitoring, mapping, planning and implementation. However, recent analyses have suggested that improvements to our state’s water, when the amendment expires in 2034, may not meet citizen expectations. In response, the Governor asked citizens to describe what could be done to improve water quality. Residents of the state provided suggestions are grouped into priority areas. As the amendment period reaches a half-way point, there is need to reflect and refocus on a desired future state for water for 2034 and beyond. The citizens of Minnesota, local governments, the Clean Water Council, the Administration, and the Legislature each have important roles and responsibilities to work together in prioritizing, funding, implementing and evaluating environmental programs aimed at improving our water, increasing our return on investment, and reaching a desired future state for water in Minnesota.