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Water conservation optional

Published (3/9/2012)
By Bob Geiger
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Mandated conservation rate structures for public water suppliers could evaporate.

Sponsored by Rep. Tim O'Driscoll (R-Sartell), HF1923 would eliminate a 2008 law that requires water suppliers to more than 1,000 people adopt conservation rate pricing to encourage conservation through block rates, seasonal rates and excess use rates.

The bill was approved March 6 by the House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee. The bill now advances to the full House.

Rather than mandating conservation rate structures, the bill would mandate public water suppliers to encourage voluntary water conservation measures. Water utilities would need to put “demand reduction measures” in place by Jan. 1, 2015.

“Conservation still exists, but you have another option,” said Craig Johnson, intergovernmental relations representative for the League of Minnesota Cities.

The bill faced opposition from committee DFLers, who contend that it weakens water conservation efforts when drought conditions exist in much of the state.

Sen. John Pederson (R-St. Cloud) sponsors the companion bill, SF1560. It was laid over Jan. 31 for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill by the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

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