gavel and law book

Understanding Minnesota Public Drainage Law Handbook and Overview

Purposes of this Handbook

The precursor to this updated edition of Understanding Minnesota Public Drainage Law was first published by the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) in 1998 and subsequently updated in 2002 with the subtitle “2002 Overview for Decision-makers.” The purpose was to support more consistent knowledge and application of Minnesota public drainage law. That purpose continues and is expanded with this update to be “A Handbook for Practitioners” in two versions. The Handbook version is comprehensive for practitioners who seek detailed information about Minnesota public drainage law authorities, requirements, process, and associated information. The companion Overview version is for decision-makers and others seeking a summary of this information. The updated purposes include:

  1. Enhance understanding and administration of current Minnesota public drainage law (drainage code) (Minnesota Statutes Chapter 103E Drainage., 2019).
  2. Summarize and clarify roles and responsibilities of the primary players involved in public administration of Chapter 103E drainage systems.
  3. Provide summary flow charts of process steps involved in different categories and types of Chapter 103E drainage proceedings and procedures, as well as more detailed explanations of the process steps and requirements for separate types of proceedings or procedures.
  4. Provide electronic links to applicable Chapter 103E and other statute provisions by section (§) and to associated information in the Minnesota Public Drainage Manual, 2016 (MPDM), for more comprehensive reference.
  5. Clarify understanding of provisions in Chapter 103E that enable multipurpose drainage water management and associated Best Management Practices (BMPs).

*Disclaimer: The Handbook and Overview documents provide organized information and guidance about Chapter 103E. They do not supersede statute, rule or other law and are not intended to be precedential in nature. Readers are cautioned to obtain legal advice when using specific drainage proceedings or procedures, including checking for any changes in drainage law and pertinent case law, as appropriate. When reading Chapter 103E, note that many provisions have not been fully updated to more clearly reflect watershed districts as drainage authorities.

Understanding Minnesota Public Drainage Law (UMPDL) Handbook

Understanding Minnesota Public Drainage Law (UMPDL) Overview 

Detailed information about Chapter 103E Drainage is provided in the Minnesota Public Drainage Manual (MPDM)


Tom Gile
Resource Conservation Section Manager
Dave Weirens
Assistant Director for Programs & Policy