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Minnesota In 'Drought Warning' Phase, DNR Says

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the state has entered a "drought warning" phase, as 52% of the state is experiencing severe drought conditions, and 4% is in an extreme drought.

The warning phase has been triggered because a significant portion of the state has surpassed severe drought condition thresholds at major watersheds. Stream flows in the metro are also expected to drop in the coming days.

Several steps are put into action as a result of the warning, including the convening of the State Drought Task Force. The last time the task force came together was in 2012.

Drought Conditions MN
Drought Conditions In Minnesota (Credit: Minnesota DNR)

DNR will also notify water appropriators with permits and public water suppliers to follow water conservation measures. Residents and landowners should soon receive information on local water use from their city or public water supplier.

They will also temporarily suspend or modify some water appropriators in response to low stream flow. As of Thursday, DNR has already suspended water appropriations at 10 watersheds.

"DNR is taking the drought seriously. We have a robust plan in place, strong partnerships across the state, and continue to take actions to respond to the current situation," said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. "We understand that people are seeing the impacts of the drought on their daily lives and have concerns about water levels and availability. While occasional water level fluctuations are natural normal and beneficial to ecosystems, they can negatively affect tourism and recreation, agriculture, business and other activities that are dependent on water. Times of drought remind us all about the importance of water conservation,"

DNR says that under current conditions, it will take 3 to 5 inches of rain over two weeks to alleviate the drought.

For the coming days, WCCO meteorologists say conditions will remain hot and dry.

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