On April 7, 2020, the Dakota County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution calling for a public hearing regarding a proposed 1-year moratorium on new wells that would extract large quantities of groundwater. The moratorium would prohibit "the construction, installation, or permitting of new wells estimated to use a water volume greater than 10,000 gallons per day or 1,000,000 gallons per year for the following proposed Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) water uses and types:
• Commercial/Industrial Water Supply
• Other Water Supply
• Agriculture/Food Processing"
Valerie Grover, Dakota County Groundwater Protection Supervisor, gave a presentation to Commissioners, providing background regarding the proposal and County Ordinance 114, which regulates wells within Dakota County and is being cited at providing legal authority for the proposed moratorium. Board Chair Slavik expressed concern regarding how the moratorium would affect the construction of wells used for irrigation of agricultural land (listen starting at the 1:23:45 mark of the meeting audio). However, Ms. Grover clarified that while the proposed moratorium would apply to new wells used for industrial food processing, it would not apply to irrigation wells. The DNR has information about the water use categories referenced within the proposed moratorium here.
The public hearing will be held at 9 a.m. on May 5, 2020. It is not yet clear whether the hearing will be conducted electronically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More information about the hearing and proposed moratorium are available here. "Written comments will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on April 30, 2020. Email comments are preferred and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also mail your comments to the Dakota County Environmental Resource Department, ATTN: Ordinance No. 114, 14955 Galaxie Avenue, Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124.
Interested persons attending the public hearing shall have the right to provide written or oral comments during the public hearing. The public may submit comments for the public hearing via email to email@example.com."
Board Chair Slavik was kind enough to join us at our January 2020 meeting and discuss this topic and water quality and quantity issues in general at length. Video of that meeting is available here and the slides from the meeting are available here.