Collaborating on Source Water Protection

Minnesota is a source water state: all the water we drink falls here. Recent high-profile incidents in other states and policy battles here in Minnesota are bringing increased public attention to the importance of protecting drinking water sources, and ensuring that access is sustainable and equitable. At this policy forum, we discussed the challenges and unique opportunities we have in Minnesota to manage agricultural and urban lands in ways that more fully recognize and account for the impact of land use decisions on water quality and public health. We discussed the importance of protecting drinking water as a more cost-effective approach to water quality than treating contaminated water supplies or switching drinking water sources. This forum explored current source water protection initiatives here in Minnesota and nationally, and the potential for a new statewide partnership to protect source waters throughout Minnesota.


  • Rich Biske, The Nature Conservancy
  • Dr. Kate Brauman, Global Water Initiative at the Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota
  • Laura DeBeer, Pipestone County Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Tannie Eshenauer, Minnesota Department of Health
  • Deirdre Mason, Association of State Drinking Water Administrators
  • Aaron Meyer, Minnesota Rural Water Association
  • Doug Rainforth, City of Fairmont
  • Brad Jordahl Redlin, Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Why Source Water Protection Requires Collaboration

Most of the land from which our source waters drain are privately owned and are not specifically managed to protect drinking water. Ultimately, preventing the contamination of drinking water supplies throughout the state requires coordinated, voluntary, and cross-sector action amongst landowners and operators with diverse interests.



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