Dwindling groundwater reserves – learning from the California experience

Dr. Jay Famiglietti, is a University of California, Irvine, professor and leader in worldwide research using NASA satellites to measure changes in the Earth’s stores of groundwater. Recently, Dr. Famiglietti visited the University of Minnesota to present the findings of his research titled Dwindling Groundwater Reserves as Viewed from Space (UofM video, 1:40:52) including discussion with Minnesota water experts. Dr. Famiglietti was interviewed on 60 Minutes (Nov. 16th) about Depleting The Water (CBS News video, 13:55)

NASA Groundwater Image (Famigliette)

In September 2014, California passed legislation to manage groundwater and address a prolonged drought where water resources are being depleted by increasing use. The Minnesota legislature created groundwater management areas as a tool for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to address difficult groundwater-related resource challenges.

In 2012, the DNR established the North and East Metro Groundwater Management Area (N&E GWMA) to address the impacts of groundwater pumping on water resources and dropping lake levels, including White Bear Lake. The N&E GWMA includes all of Ramsey and Washington Counties, the city of Minneapolis (east of the Mississippi River) and ten cities in Anoka County (Blaine, Centerville, Circles Pines, Columbia Heights, Columbus, Fridley, Hilltop, Lexington, Lino Lakes and Spring Lake Park).

A groundwater management plan for the N&E GWMA is expected to be completed early in 2015. For more information and to receive updates, go to the DNR’s N&E GWMA webpage.

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