Historically, water resource management has focused on surface water or groundwater as if they were separate things. As we continue to alter the landscape, it is clear that alteration of either of these resources affects the quality and/or quantity of the other.

Nearly all surface water features (streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands) interact with groundwater. Surface water bodies can gain water and solutes from groundwater (a). Surface water bodies can lose water to groundwater (b). Surface water bodies can be disconnected from the groundwater table (c).

Streams can gain, lose or be disconnected from groundwater


Water withdrawal from surface water bodies can decrease the quantity of groundwater. Conversely, groundwater pumping can decrease the quality of water in surface water bodies. Surface water pollution can degrade groundwater quality and vice versa. Therefore, effective land and water management requires a robust understanding of the connections between groundwater and surface water in each individual setting.

BWSR's Role

Minnesota has a long history of local governments managing water. BWSR provides various water-related planning, grant and regulatory programs to local governments in order to help them achieve their water management goals.

BWSR Programs

Planning/Conservation Programs

Grant Programs

Regulatory Programs

BWSR Training for Local Government Units