The Dakota County Board of Commissioners scheduled a public hearing ahead of a vote that would place a one-year moratorium on new industrial water wells.
If the moratorium passes, officials plan to study the impact on the county of exporting large volumes of water. According to projections, water quantity issues will become more significant as the population grows, reported the Star Tribune.
This comes after a Minnesota company recently called for 500 million gallons of water to be shipped on railcars to states in the southwest, according to Dakota County Commissioner Joe Atkins.
“We have water depletion and water quantity issues of our own anticipated over the next 10 to 15 years, so we want to make sure we have water available for our own residents and our own businesses before we start seeing proposals to ship hundreds of millions of gallons elsewhere," said Atkins.
County commissioners will hold a virtual public meeting May 5 at 9 a.m. on a proposed one-year moratorium on new industrial wells, according to KSTP. These wells pump more than 10,000 gallons of water a day.
According to water officials, Dakota County residents use around 25 billion gallons of groundwater, with 14 billion gallons used for drinking water.
"We do have projections that there could be a drawdown of groundwater in parts of the county of about up to 50% drawdown, so you'd have 50% less of the groundwater," said Valerie Grover, Dakota County’s groundwater protection unit supervisor.
These estimates are without large wells, in communities which could experience high population growth down the line, reported Eyewitness News.