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RIVER LIFE

Minnesota’s Water Future: TBD

For all of its much-vaunted reputation as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” and the “Land of Sky-Blue Waters,” the wide public discussion of Minnesota’s water future is a recent phenomenon.  But we are certainly making up for lost time!

Two weeks ago, state leaders hosted the second Minnesota Water Summit, in the western Minnesota town of Morris.  True to expectations, the non-metro location served well for a broad-ranging discussion of water and agriculture, as well as the particular problems facing small communities with aging water systems.  Unfortunately, most of the news coverage was from smaller newspapers, but people who really want to get a sense of the discussion can go to Twitter and follow the hashtag #MNWaterSummit.

Last week, the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus was the location for the Minnesota Environmental Congress, organized by the state’s Environmental Quality Board (EQB).  As befits the EQB’s broad range of concerns, the issues here were not just about water, but ranged across subjects as varied as pollinator protection and community engagement.  A thought-provoking panel on environmental justice closed the day.

The EQB event was notable, though, for the headlines it generated from Governor Mark Dayton’s remarks, which largely focused on water protection.  Continuing a theme that Dayton has made an important part of his work, the governor asserted that “Clean water is your right, and also your responsibility. And it’s mine, too.”  We’ll revisit this point in the future, I am sure.  The primary water headline from the day was Dayton’s call for the state to reduce water pollution levels by 25% by 2025.  All agreed that meeting that goal would be a “tough lift,” but that the hard work has to start with big goals.

Finally, our program is organizing a panel discussion for this coming Thursday, on “We Are Water: the University and Minnesota’s Water Future.”  The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held 3:30-5:00 in the Best Buy Theater, in Northrop Auditorium.  Northrop is on the University’s East Bank campus in Minneapolis.  More details are at the web site linked above.  Hope you can make it!

 

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