Metropolitan Council water plan gets feedback

The new plan will address water resource concerns in the Twin Cities.

by Nick Wicker

A new plan aimed at preserving water resources in the metro area is set to begin next month.

A public hearing for the Metropolitan Council’s Water Resources Management Plan, which is part of a larger 30-year plan, called Thrive MSP 2040, was held Tuesday.

The council will adopt the new water resources plan in April, and it will address treatment of waste water, as well as prescribe steps to protect surface water and conserve water supply, said Judy Sventek, Metropolitan Council’s manager of the water resources assessment.

“It’s all of us working together to get that end goal of sustainable water resources,” Sventek said. “It’s a very high goal, and it’s going to take a while.”

The full 2040 plan will also focus on transportation, housing and public parks in the city.

The plan will serve as a blueprint to find the best use of infrastructure and resources, and it highlights Twin Cities areas that need funding, Ward 1 Minneapolis City Councilman Kevin Reich said.

Patricia Nauman, executive director of Metro Cities, a community group tasked with overseeing the Metropolitan Council, said at the public hearing Tuesday that she is concerned the new water resources plan doesn’t define what the council’s role would be in its implementation.

“Making sure that there is clarity around those roles will be very important,” she said at the hearing.

City officials recently discussed the plan and prepared comments, which were approved at a Transportation and Public Works Committee meeting last week.

Reich said the plan misjudged Minneapolis’ growth in the next 10 years.

City researchers think population and development will increase in the Twin Cities in the future, which is contrary to the plan that says growth will occur outside the cities in suburbs, he said.

Reich said misallocating resources to the suburbs instead of the city could lead to monetary losses for local governments.

Lisa Cerney, director of surface water and sewers for Minneapolis Public Works said the new plan is centered on viewing issues related to the region’s water resources as a whole.

This water plan focuses on cooperation between local governments and nonprofit organizations, Sventek said.

The full City Council will prepare its feedback to the plan next week and submit it to the Metropolitan Council.