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APWA-MN, CEAM Provide Input on Regional Water Supply Planning

June 23, 2015

By Bob Cockriel, APWA-MN President; and Klayton Eckles, CEAM President

Last August, the American Public Works Association-MN Chapter (APWA-MN) and the City Engineers Association of Minnesota (CEAM) submitted correspondence expressing concerns about water supply planning efforts being undertaken by the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES). Water supply planning has a direct impact on many members of both APWA-MN and CEAM, and the outcomes may have implications for both organizations’ members in the future. 

In response to these concerns, a Community Technical Work Group (CTWG) was created and convened by Metropolitan Council Environmental Services in January 2015. 

The primary purpose of the CTWG was to provide input on the Master Water Supply Plan to MCES on technical, financial, and operational issues related to regional water supply planning from the perspective of community public works staff who are charged with the responsibility to design, construct, operate, and rehabilitate community water supply systems.

The CTWG consisted of the following members:

  • Mark Maloney, Shoreview
  • Steve Lillehaug, Brooklyn Center
  • Russ Matthys, Eagan
  • Jennifer Levitt, Cottage Grove
  • Steve Albrecht, Burnsville
  • Brian Olson, Edina
  • Jim Graupmann, St. Paul
  • Dale Folen, Minneapolis
  • Michael Thompson, Maplewood
  • Bert Tracy, Golden Valley
  • Bob Cockriel, Bloomington
  • Klay Eckles, Woodbury

Additional staff from the Department of Natural Resources participated in the CTWG meetings, including:

  • Jason Moeckel, Inventory, Monitoring, Analysis Section Manager
  • Joe Richter, District Appropriation Hydrologist
  • Carmelita Nelson, Water Conservation Consultant

Over five meetings held in the late winter and spring of 2015, the CTWG discussed the following water supply topics:

1. The Metropolitan Council’s role in the development of a Regional Master Water Supply plan. As a result of this discussion, a document titled Metropolitan Region Water Supply Master Planning Objectives (attached) was developed which summarizes the MCES vision and role in water supply planning, the purpose of the regional water supply plan, and planning tools used by the Council in water supply planning. The document also recognizes the role of communities in the ownership, operations, and maintenance of water supply systems.

2. A review of the inputs, calibration, and application of Metro Model 3 (MM3), as well as the limitations and uncertainty of the model. Opportunities for improvement of the model and messaging regarding model forecasts were also identified.

3. The 2015 Proposed Twin Cities Metropolitan Area Master Water Supply Plan. While CTWG members provided comments on the entire plan, they focused their group discussions on the following items:

A. Use of data derived from MM3 to guide regional water policy.

B. The importance of conservation as a method to reduce consumption.

C. And removal of statements that indicated a bias toward surface water as a raw water source, as opposed to groundwater.

D. Consideration of all options for sustainable water supply including, but not limited to, groundwater, surface water, and reuse of surface water and ground water.

4. The Department of Natural Resources Draft Local Water Supply Template, which will be used by communities throughout the state in development of the water supply chapter of their local comprehensive plans. 

Upon completing their discussions regarding the 2015 Proposed Twin Cities Metropolitan Area Master Water Supply Plan, the CTWG agreed that the plan should be released for review by the public. As a part of the public comment process, MCES will host two meetings to gain feedback on the plan. At the conclusion of the public comment period, which is scheduled to end in late August 2015, the CTWG will reconvene to review comments received on the plan with the Metropolitan Area Water Supply Advisory Committee (MAWSAC), MCES staff, and DNR staff. Based on the success of the collaborative efforts of CTWG, it was agreed that future updates or proposed changes to the MWSP would be cause to reconvene the group to provide the perspective of public works professionals who are charged with the responsibilities of their community water systems. 

APWA-MN and CEAM encourage communities throughout the region to stay involved with this important planning effort. Public outreach meetings will be held in July. More information regarding the meetings and public comment period will be available on the Metropolitan Council’s website at www.metrocouncil.org.

If you have questions regarding the outcomes of the CTWG, please contact Bob Cockriel at rcockriel@BloomingtonMN.gov or 952-563-8774, or Klayton Eckles at keckles@ci.woodbury.mn.us or 651-714-3593. If you wish to make comments about the Master Water Supply Plan, please contact Lanya Ross at Lanya.Ross@metc.state.mn.us or 651-602-1803.

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