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Drought straining state's water resources

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Drought conditions are straining Minnesota's water resources. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging everyone to adopt water conservation measures.

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"Water is essential to our economy, our natural resources, and our quality of life," said Tom Landwehr, DNR commissioner. "We are in the second year of a drought, and it is time for all of us to take water conservation more seriously."

DNR is asking agricultural, commercial and industrial water users to stop outdoor irrigation and to implement conservation measures.

Examples of how drought conditions are straining the state's water resources include:

• Water conflicts between users and uses are emerging in more places.

• Nearly one-half of the state is in severe drought or worse.

• The extent and geographic distribution of the current drought is rivaling the extreme drought event of the late 1980s.

• Large areas of Minnesota have missed the equivalent of two summertime month's worth of rain.

• Soil moisture levels are at or below all-time low values for the end of September.

It is often difficult to see the long-term impact a drought has on the state's groundwater supplies. It can take many years for groundwater levels to bounce back after a drought, even when the state's surface waters appear to have recovered.

"Seventy-five percent of the state's population depends on groundwater for its drinking water, so it is essential everyone start to conserve this vital resource," Landwehr said.

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