Do farmers need to do more to protect state’s groundwater resources?

Brooten area farmer Jim Anderson climbs one of his many irrigation rigs. Even an experienced farmer like Anderson, who said he understands the need to protect groundwater through regulation, said he overlooked the need to update a permit for one well he drilled to replace an earlier well. Mark Steil / MPR News

Irrigation is the fastest growing use of groundwater, and an MPR News investigation broadcast this week chronicled how hundreds of farmers likely are pumping tens of thousands of gallons of water without DNR authorization or knowledge.

The Minnesota Senate passed legislation on Tuesday that would allow state officials to penalize anyone who uses large amounts of groundwater without a permit.

The measure would give the Department of Natural Resources authority to fine unpermitted groundwater users up to $20,000.

Today’s Question: Do farmers need to do more to protect state’s groundwater resources?

Join an online chat with Ground Level project director Dave Peters for a look behind the irrigation investigation today at noon.

Submit your question now, or join at noon for the live discussion.