Minnesota Offers Models for Stormwater Management

Reflecting its reputation as the land of 10,000 lakes, Minnesota's highly developed water management infrastructure can be instructive for states facing frequent floods.
November 29, 2017, 7am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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As Lynn E. Broaddus writes for Brookings, "Despite its inland location – seemingly distant from the major storms that dominate national headlines – Minnesota has a variety of institutional frameworks, financial levers, and programmatic tools aimed at accelerating water infrastructure improvements."

Broaddus points to the state's many stormwater utilities and watershed districts, as well as their financial health. "Minnesota contains the most stormwater utilities in the U.S., 197 utilities out of 1,583 utilities nationally. By establishing and supporting these utilities over time, the state has been able to operate from a position of greater technical and financial capacity, generating durable revenues to pay for water upgrades."

Minnesota has also been proactive on the state level, levying a tax to raise about $100 million annually for its Clean Water Fund. "Grants from this fund go toward water assessment, monitoring, and planning, as well as on-the-ground projects like rain gardens, buffer installation, and erosion control." 

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Published on Thursday, November 16, 2017 in Brookings
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