When in Drought: Resources for Minnesota's Current Drought Conditions

Minnesota’s current drought is a regional, but the implications hit close to home here in our watershed. As a local Water Management Organization, VLAWMO contributes to regional groundwater with its many lakes and over 500 wetlands. Communities within VLAWMO draw from this groundwater for many household and business uses. In a time of drought, our watershed can support regional groundwater by practicing water conservation and being informed on state-wide efforts and information.

Current demand on groundwater is beginning to stress groundwater supplies in some areas of the state. August, 2021 is a time for caution and action to mitigate the long-term impacts of the drought. Efforts made today will support the ability for regional water resources to maintain stability during the drought cycle, and bounce back when it passes.  

Average precipitation for Ramsey County during May-September, 2000-2020:

Precipitation Ramsey county May-Sept 2000-2020.jpg

Drought Severity Index for the month of August, 2000-2020:Drought severity index ramsey county August 2000-2020.jpg

2021 precipitation data not yet available from MN Office of Climatology. Past data can be compared to this year through the US Weather Service.

Current Drought Severity Index (PDSI) for the Twin Cities ranges from -1 to -3 depending on location. 

Source: MN Office of Climatology

Palmer Drought Severity Index

Resources, updates, and information on drought conditions:

1. Visit the DNR Drought Conditions Overview website for weekly updates.

2. Find public data from groundwater observation wells near you: Cooperative Groundwater Monitoring.

3. Find national drought updates at the U.S. Drought Monitor website.

4. Check Lambert Creek flow rates and water levels through real-time remote creek monitoring: Lambert Creek webpage.

5. Read about the current drought warning phase.

6. Explore past Minnesota temperature and precipitation data.

Kare 11 news story

Dealing with Drought - Lawncare (video)

Tips for helping to conserve water at home:

  • Water yard plants low to the ground. When watering select garden trees or plants to reduce their stress from drought, maximize efficiency by holding the hose near or on the ground. The best water-efficient sprinklers spray low to the ground and don’t spray in a mist.
  • Never water pavement. Fixing errant sprinkler heads is an easy task with a little research or a call to an irrigation specialist.
  • Water slowly. When soil is dry and hardened, more water runs off the surface and potentially into the street.
  • Keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge to reduce time spent waiting at the faucet for water to reach a desired temperature. Similarly, place a pot or large bowl in the sink when running the faucet and waiting for it to warm up. 
  • Take cold(er) showers. A colder shower is a shorter shower! (For most folks).   
  • Try an “army shower” by turning off the water when lathering, or use a bucket to cap the water used for a shower.
  • Refrain from car washing and other non-essential water uses until drought warnings subside.
  • Go beyond the odd/even watering day ban by embracing the natural ability turf grass to go dormant. Maintaining a green lawn during a drought is unrealistic and not necessary to keep the lawn alive.
  • Find more tips and calculate your home water use here.

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