Minnesota drought worsens

Portions of Minnesota enter drought restrictive phase

Image of MN drought map as of August 17For the first time since the drought intensity classification scale was implemented in 2000, a portion of Minnesota has entered the exceptional drought intensity classification. As the drought continues to worsen, the DNR has put the 300 communities in three watersheds in a “restricted phase.” Those communities will have to limit water use to no more than 25% above their January usage. This includes the Mississippi River Headwaters watershed, the Rainy River watershed and the Red River watershed (see map of those watersheds here), which are experiencing extreme to exceptional drought.

The exceptional drought category is the highest ranking: this is the first time it’s been used since the U.S. Drought Monitor began ranking droughts by four levels of intensity. The ranking system wasn’t around during the Dust Bowl, but meteorologists believe that and the drought of 1988 might be the only time Minnesota has been this dry.

The Nine Mile Creek Watershed District is in the Minnesota River watershed, which is in the second level, or Severe, drought category in the map at right. However, this is already causing low water levels in some District lakes, and prompting some communities to enact expanded watering restrictions. Check your city restrictions below.


Eden Prairie (year round restrictions)

Hopkins (year round restrictions)




Under current conditions, it will take at least five to nine inches of precipitation spread over a period of about one month to significantly alleviate the drought. Soils are more efficiently replenished by multiple rainfall events than by any single heavy rainfall event. Surface water and groundwater respond somewhat differently over time.

Water audit

Help your community conserve water by limiting your water use, inside and outside your home. Follow these tips for caring for your lawn during a drought. Or, perform a water audit inside your home: DIY Home Water Audit. Fill out the form at that link, email it to Gael at gzembal@ninemilecreek.org and request your free low flow showerhead, faucet aerator, or sprinkler timer!


Check these articles for more information

MN DNR August 18, 20210

Star Tribune

State Drought Monitor