Our Focus Areas

MN COLA is focused on the water resources of Minnesota.

For over 5 billion years water has sustained life on earth. The water that gave life to microbes, plants, fish and dinosaurs is still the water we use on a daily basis. Yes, water is that old. New water has not been created and the existing water did not evaporate into outer space. Water exists in three forms – liquid form, solid form, and water vapor. A simplified explanation of the process of water is as follows:  surface water evaporates into the atmosphere on hot, windy or sunny days and condenses, forming clouds and returning to earth as rain, dew, snow/ice, falling onto land or water and the process starts over. And so, the cycle has continued for billions of years. Since the beginning of humanity people have had access to water to sustain life.

As water turns to vapor and then condenses to rainwater, under ideal conditions the process results in clean rainwater. That was the process before the advances by humankind. Now rainwater may wash coal soot and dust and other chemical and man-made pollutants from the air as it travels to earth bringing airborne pollutants with it and washing man-made chemical pollutants, sewage and other unsafe items into ground water, lakes, and rivers.  

Minnesota, the Land of 10,000+ lakes and endless water, has more shoreland than California has ocean beachfront.

  • 6% of Minnesota’s surface area is water
  • Out of that, 315 billion gallons per year are used for ground water drinking and agriculture
  • 75% of drinking water comes from ground water and another 15% is used for agriculture, primarily crop irrigation

In one year, 315 billion gallons of water are used in Minnesota. Minnesota has many test wells scattered around the state to determine the impact of the use of water bearing aquifers. What they have found is that water is not distributed evenly across the State of Minnesota, with relatively dry areas in southwest and northeast Minnesota. Endless safe water is something we have become accustomed to, but our limits are now being pushed. By 2040, it is estimated that some Twin City suburbs will not be able to supply the needed water from their aquifers. Yes, Minnesota will not have the necessary amounts of water in all areas. 

Under the definition that clean water is safe water, we live at a time when safe water is more of an issue every year for drinking, bathing, and cleaning. As society has been able to use water for recreation, the definition of clean and safe water has been stretched by many to include water that is visually pleasing, free of unpleasant odors, clear, weed free, and refreshing. With the mobility now available to humans, both internationally and within the United States, we are seeing a surge of existing weeds and new types of weeds from other continents and other parts of the U.S. We see macrophytes and invertebrates that are able to substantially impact the enjoyment of surface water. These facts and the illustrations in the Focus pages are fundamental concerns that are driving MN COLA to address Minnesota’s water.

With the freedoms that come with life in the 21st Century we need to recognize that that those freedoms come with responsibilities to protect that water that we all treasure and need.