Minnesota Water Sustainability Framework

A result of funding from passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Act in 2008, the Minnesota state legislature directed the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center to construct a 25-year water sustainability framework that describes the primary issues that must be addressed to achieve sustainable water use and recommendations for what the state should do to address those issues.

The Legislature defined sustainable water use as that which “does not harm ecosystems, degrade water quality, or compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Aspects of water sustainability to be addressed included drinking water, stormwater, agricultural and industrial use, surface and groundwater interactions, infrastructure needs, and within the context of predicted changes in climate, demographics, and land use. 

The resulting Framework presents 10 major water sustainability issues (e.g. clean water supply, water infrastructure needs, and governance) and concrete solutions and action steps based on current science and best practices. Recommendations are organized by timeframe, with four phases that extend to 2025, where Phase 1 is recommendations that should be implemented in the next two years (2011-2012).

Individual team working papers, best practices, and overall governance and process documents are available on the site, in addition to the report. Team reports include water use; water supply; water quality; ecosystems; agriculture; cultural, spiritual and recreation; and policy. The policy team paper includes a very detailed discussion on state progress, issues, needs and gaps which include governance, policies, best practices, and an inventory of all state statutes pertaining to water.

Funding to develop the Minnesota Water Sustainability Framework was provided through an appropriation by the Minnesota Legislature in session laws 2009, chapter 172, article 2, sections 8 and 30. The appropriation was from the Clean Water Fund.

Publication Date: January 15, 2011

Related Organizations:

  • University of Minnesota Water Resources Center
  • University of Minnesota


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Plans (other)

States Affected:


Go To Resource