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Water use - Water Appropriations Permit Program

Minnesota water use data were gathered from permit holders who report the volume of water used each year.

Chart of Minnesota water use in billions of gallons including irrigation, industrial processing, public supply, power generation and other.

Major Water Use Categories

Power Generation - water used to cool power generating plant equipment. This is historically the largest volume of use and relies almost entirely on surface water sources. Power Generation use is primarily non-consumptive, in that most of the water withdrawn is returned to its original source.

Public Supply - water distributed by community suppliers for domestic, commercial, industrial, and public users. The category relies on both surface and ground water sources.

Industrial Processing - water used in mining activities, paper mill operations, food processing. Three-fourths or more of withdrawals are from surface water sources.

Irrigation - water withdrawn from both surface water and ground water sources for major crop and noncrop uses. Nearly all irrigation is considered to be consumptive.

Other - water withdrawn for activities including air conditioning, construction dewatering, water level maintenance, and pollution confinement.

Consumptive use is defined as water withdrawn that is not directly returned to its original source. Under this definition, all ground water withdrawals are consumptive unless the water is returned to the aquifer from which it was obtained. Surface water withdrawals are considered consumptive if the water is not directly returned to the source so that it is available for immediate further use. In accordance with the Great Lakes Compact, for that part of Minnesota that is within the Great Lakes Basin, the definition of consumptive use also "means that portion of the water withdrawn or withheld from the basin that is lost or otherwise not returned to the basin due to evaporation, incorporation into products, or other processes."

Minnesota water use (including irrigation, industrial processing, public supply and other; excluding power generation) in billions of gallons, 1985-2011

Active Permit Information

Permit information reports are generated directly from the main database files. The Permit Information Report was updated 2/4/2013:

Minnesota water use permit locations.

To download a larger copy of this map for plotting purposes, save this graphic to your hard drive.

ArcView Shape File
The following compressed ZIP file contains ArcView shapefiles of water appropriation installation locations. The attribute data contain information on the permit number, location, use type, and resource used for each installation. Reported pumping data for 1988-2011 are included (updated 1/17/2013).

Other Resources