In partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health and with support from the Citizens League, we are working to establish a state-wide partnership to support local efforts to protect clean and safe drinking water.
Through the summer and fall of 2019 we will be hosting a series of conversations throughout the state designed to explore local perspectives on the opportunities to work together at the community-level to voluntarily and proactively protect drinking water at its sources. Local leaders know what works best for their community and what it is that they need to support their drinking water protection efforts.
We all recognize that water is an important resource that affects our livelihoods, economy, health, and quality of life. The aim of these conversations is to hear about the successes, challenges, and needs related to drinking water protection from leaders in a diverse set of communities around the state. The conversation will cover topics related to the relationship between land use, local economies and drinking water, such as landfills, storage tanks, septic systems, storm water runoff from road and land surfaces, mining, agriculture, forestry, manufacturing and more. These conversations will guide the formation of a state-wide collaborative, including what it will look like and accomplish and who will be involved.
The vision behind creating a collaborative is to ensure that public health and sustainable, equitable access to safe drinking water are used as factors in land use decision making. A state-wide collaborative will advance this vision by establishing goals, generating solutions, providing an ongoing mechanism for collaboration utilizing diverse skills and knowledge, and maintaining momentum for action on protection of drinking water sources.
The public agencies responsible for safeguarding and providing safe drinking water do not have the authority or capacity to protect the sources of the water we drink on their own. Through collaboration across interests and capabilities, and by including those who impact water through their daily decisions in finding opportunities for action, we hope to expand and accelerate the transfer of cost effective solutions to ensure safe drinking water for all Minnesotans that benefit our economy along with our communities.