As a general-purpose unit of government, counties, with their planning and land-use authorities, are uniquely positioned to link many land-use decisions with local goals for surface and groundwater protection and management. Through the Comprehensive Local Water Management Act (Act), counties are encouraged to make this link through the development and implementation of comprehensive local water management plans (county water plans).
According to the Act, these county water plans must:
- cover the entire area within a county;
- address water problems in the context of watershed units and groundwater systems;
- be based upon principles of sound hydrologic management of water, effective environmental protection, and efficient management; and
- be consistent with local water management plans prepared by counties and watershed management organizations wholly or partially within a single watershed unit or groundwater system.
County Commissioners also are responsible for appointing Watershed District Managers (see Watershed District Manager Appointments fact sheet)
BWSR's role in local planning is to ensure that county water plans are prepared and coordinated with existing local, and state efforts; and that plans are implemented effectively. BWSR fulfills this role through Board review and approval of the plans while BWSR staff members provide overall program guidance, process affiliated grants, and provide plan review and comments.
All parts of Minnesota have state-approved and locally-adopted county water plans in place. However, water management in Minnesota recently began an evolution towards watershed-based, rather than jurisdictional based water plans.
Plan Update Process
- Plan Update Process Overview (updated August 2015)
- County Water Plan Update Guide (updated August 2015)
- County Water Plan Amendment Guide (updated August 2015)
- Routing Information (updated January 2017)
Templates (Word Documents)