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Minn. DNR fails to enforce water-pumping violations

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While the state suffers from a severe drought that has state officials urging water conservation, hundreds of water permit holders are taking more than their fair share and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is taking little action.

Pumping more water than a permit allows is a misdemeanor offense in Minnesota, MPR reports, but DNR officials admit they don't have the staff or resources to enforce permit limits.

From cities to private businesses and crop irrigators to power companies, many are guilty of over-pumping, causing water shortages for their neighbors.

In southwest Minnesota, where extreme drought has taken a significant toll, some residential wells have run dry.

Over-pumping is a contributing cause of White Bear Lake's record low water levels. A group of residents and business filed a lawsuit agains the DNR in November claiming they failed to take action against excessive municipal groundwater pumping.

DNR officials tell MPR that better enforcement will come with a new permit monitoring system that should be operational later this year.

MPR has a list of the worst offenders.

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