103G.271 APPROPRIATION AND USE OF WATERS.
Subdivision 1. Permit required.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), the state, a
person, partnership, or association, private or public corporation, county, municipality, or other
political subdivision of the state may not appropriate or use waters of the state without a water
use permit from the commissioner.
(b) This section does not apply to use for a water supply by less than 25 persons for domestic
(c) The commissioner may issue a state general permit for appropriation of water to a
governmental subdivision or to the general public for classes of activities that have minimal
impact upon waters of the state. The general permit may authorize more than one project and
the appropriation or use of more than one source of water. Water use permit processing fees and
reports required under subdivision 6 and section
103G.281, subdivision 3
, are required for each
project or water source that is included under a general permit, except that no fee is required for
uses totaling less than 15,000,000 gallons annually.
Subd. 2. Permits must be consistent with state and local plans.
A water use permit may
not be issued under this section unless it is consistent with state, regional, and local water and
related land resources management plans if the regional and local plans are consistent with
Subd. 3. Permit restriction during summer months.
The commissioner must not modify
or restrict the amount of appropriation from a groundwater source authorized in a water use
permit issued to irrigate agricultural land under section
103G.295, subdivision 2
, between May
1 and October 1, unless the commissioner determines the authorized amount of appropriation
endangers a domestic water supply.
Subd. 4. Minimum use exemption and local approval of low use permits.
(a) Except for
local permits under section
103B.211, subdivision 4
, a water use permit is not required for the
appropriation and use of less than a minimum amount prescribed by the commissioner by rule.
(b) Water use permits for more than the minimum amount but less than an intermediate
amount prescribed by rule must be processed and approved at the municipal, county, or regional
level based on rules adopted by the commissioner.
(c) The rules must include provisions for reporting to the commissioner the amounts of water
appropriated under local permits.
Subd. 4a. Mt. Simon-Hinckley aquifer.
(a) The commissioner may not issue new water
use permits that will appropriate water from the Mt. Simon-Hinckley aquifer in a metropolitan
county, as defined in section
473.121, subdivision 4
, unless the appropriation is for potable water
use, there are no feasible or practical alternatives to this source, and a water conservation plan is
incorporated with the permit.
(b) The commissioner shall terminate all permits authorizing appropriation and use of water
from the Mt. Simon-Hinckley aquifer for once-through systems in a metropolitan county, as
defined in section
473.121, subdivision 4
, by December 31, 1992.
Subd. 5. Prohibition on once-through water use permits.
(a) Except as provided in
paragraph (c), the commissioner may not, after December 31, 1990, issue a water use permit to
increase the volume of appropriation from a groundwater source for a once-through cooling
system using in excess of 5,000,000 gallons annually.
(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c), once-through system water use permits using in
excess of 5,000,000 gallons annually, must be terminated by the commissioner by the end of their
design life but not later than December 31, 2010, unless the discharge is into a public water
basin within a nature preserve approved by the commissioner and established prior to January 1,
2001. Existing once-through systems must not be expanded and are required to convert to water
efficient alternatives within the design life of existing equipment.
(c) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) and (b), the commissioner, with the approval of the
commissioners of health and the Pollution Control Agency, may issue once-through system
water use permits on an annual basis for aquifer storage and recovery systems that return all
once-through system water to the source aquifer. Water use permit processing fees in subdivision
6, paragraph (a), apply to all water withdrawals under this paragraph, including any reuse of
water returned to the source aquifer.
Subd. 5a. Maintenance of surface water levels.
Except as provided in subdivision 5,
paragraph (b), the commissioner shall, by January 31, 1994, revoke all existing permits, and
may not issue new permits, for the appropriation or use of groundwater in excess of 10,000,000
gallons per year for the primary purpose of maintaining or increasing surface water levels in the
seven-county metropolitan area and in other areas of concern as determined by the commissioner.
This subdivision does not apply until January 1, 1998, to a municipality that, by January 1,
1994, submits a plan acceptable to the commissioner for maintaining or increasing surface water
levels using sources other than groundwater.
Subd. 6. Water use permit processing fee.
(a) Except as described in paragraphs (b) to (f),
a water use permit processing fee must be prescribed by the commissioner in accordance with
the schedule of fees in this subdivision for each water use permit in force at any time during the
year. The schedule is as follows, with the stated fee in each clause applied to the total amount
(1) $101 for amounts not exceeding 50,000,000 gallons per year;
(2) $3 per 1,000,000 gallons for amounts greater than 50,000,000 gallons but less than
100,000,000 gallons per year;
(3) $3.50 per 1,000,000 gallons for amounts greater than 100,000,000 gallons but less than
150,000,000 gallons per year;
(4) $4 per 1,000,000 gallons for amounts greater than 150,000,000 gallons but less than
200,000,000 gallons per year;
(5) $4.50 per 1,000,000 gallons for amounts greater than 200,000,000 gallons but less than
250,000,000 gallons per year;
(6) $5 per 1,000,000 gallons for amounts greater than 250,000,000 gallons but less than
300,000,000 gallons per year;
(7) $5.50 per 1,000,000 gallons for amounts greater than 300,000,000 gallons but less than
350,000,000 gallons per year;
(8) $6 per 1,000,000 gallons for amounts greater than 350,000,000 gallons but less than
400,000,000 gallons per year;
(9) $6.50 per 1,000,000 gallons for amounts greater than 400,000,000 gallons but less than
450,000,000 gallons per year;
(10) $7 per 1,000,000 gallons for amounts greater than 450,000,000 gallons but less than
500,000,000 gallons per year; and
(11) $7.50 per 1,000,000 gallons for amounts greater than 500,000,000 gallons per year.
(b) For once-through cooling systems, a water use processing fee must be prescribed by the
commissioner in accordance with the following schedule of fees for each water use permit in
force at any time during the year:
(1) for nonprofit corporations and school districts, $150 per 1,000,000 gallons; and
(2) for all other users, $300 per 1,000,000 gallons.
(c) The fee is payable based on the amount of water appropriated during the year and, except
as provided in paragraph (f), the minimum fee is $100.
(d) For water use processing fees other than once-through cooling systems:
(1) the fee for a city of the first class may not exceed $250,000 per year;
(2) the fee for other entities for any permitted use may not exceed:
(i) $50,000 per year for an entity holding three or fewer permits;
(ii) $75,000 per year for an entity holding four or five permits;
(iii) $250,000 per year for an entity holding more than five permits;
(3) the fee for agricultural irrigation may not exceed $750 per year;
(4) the fee for a municipality that furnishes electric service and cogenerates steam for home
heating may not exceed $10,000 for its permit for water use related to the cogeneration of
electricity and steam; and
(5) no fee is required for a project involving the appropriation of surface water to prevent
flood damage or to remove flood waters during a period of flooding, as determined by the
(e) Failure to pay the fee is sufficient cause for revoking a permit. A penalty of two percent
per month calculated from the original due date must be imposed on the unpaid balance of fees
remaining 30 days after the sending of a second notice of fees due. A fee may not be imposed on
an agency, as defined in section
16B.01, subdivision 2
, or federal governmental agency holding a
water appropriation permit.
(f) The minimum water use processing fee for a permit issued for irrigation of agricultural
land is $20 for years in which:
(1) there is no appropriation of water under the permit; or
(2) the permit is suspended for more than seven consecutive days between May 1 and
(g) A surcharge of $20 per million gallons in addition to the fee prescribed in paragraph (a)
shall be applied to the volume of water used in each of the months of June, July, and August
that exceeds the volume of water used in January for municipal water use, irrigation of golf
courses, and landscape irrigation. The surcharge for municipalities with more than one permit
shall be determined based on the total appropriations from all permits that supply a common
Subd. 6a. Payment of fees for past unpermitted appropriations.
An entity that
appropriates water without a required permit under subdivision 1 must pay the applicable water
use permit processing fee specified in subdivision 6 for the period during which the unpermitted
appropriation occurred. The fees for unpermitted appropriations are required for the previous
seven calendar years after being notified of the need for a permit. This fee is in addition to any
other fee or penalty assessed.
Subd. 7. Transfer of permit.
A water use permit may be transferred to a successive owner
of real property if the permittee conveys the real property where the source of water is located.
The new owner must notify the commissioner immediately after the conveyance and request
transfer of the permit.
History: 1990 c 391 art 7 s 27; 1990 c 594 art 1 s 49; 1990 c 597 s 63-65; 1991 c 214 s 6;
1991 c 234 s 1; 1991 c 354 art 10 s 5; 1992 c 366 s 1; 1992 c 601 s 1; 1993 c 186 s 3-5; 1994 c
557 s 15; 1995 c 218 s 10; 1997 c 104 s 1; 1998 c 401 s 38; 1999 c 231 s 128; 2001 c 160 s 1-3;
2003 c 128 art 1 s 116,117; 2005 c 89 s 1; 1Sp2005 c 1 art 2 s 121; 2006 c 281 art 1 s 21