Legal Memorandum: Water Conservation in MN

Issue: Is a public water supplier for a city in Minnesota required to encourage water conservation?

Area of Law: Environmental Law
Keywords: Water conservation; Demand reduction; Public water supplier
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: Minn. Stat. § 103G.291; Minn. Stat. § 103G.291, subd. 3, 4; Minn. Stat. § 144.383
Date: 10/01/2012

A water supplier and is subject to Minn. Stat. § 103G.291, which provides in relevant part:

Subd. 3. Water supply plans; demand reduction. . . .  (c) Public water suppliers serving more than 1,000 people must encourage water conservation by employing water use demand reduction measures, as defined in subdivision 4, paragraph (a), before requesting approval from the commissioner of health under section 144.383, paragraph (a), to construct a public water supply well or requesting an increase in the authorized volume of appropriation. The commissioner of natural resources and the water supplier shall use a collaborative process to achieve demand reduction measures as a part of a water supply plan review process.

Subd. 4. Demand reduction measures. (a) For the purposes of this section, “demand reduction measures” means measures that reduce water demand, water losses, peak water demands, and nonessential water uses. Demand reduction measures must include a conservation rate structure, or a uniform rate structure with a conservation program that achieves demand reduction. A “conservation rate structure” means a rate structure that encourages conservation and may include increasing block rates, seasonal rates, time of use rates, individualized goal rates, or excess use rates. If a conservation rate is applied to multifamily dwellings, the rate structure must consider each residential unit as an individual user.


(b) To encourage conservation, a public water supplier serving more than 1,000 people must implement demand reduction measures by January 1, 2015.


Minn. Stat. § 103G.291, […]