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Plans for more study of White Bear Lake’s low water level

The U.S. Geological Survey wants to see how municipal wells affect  the lake’s water levels.

The U.S. Geological Survey wants to further study the low water levels in White Bear Lake, to see how municipal wells affect the problem and if changes in water pumping should be made.

In recent years, the lake’s shoreline has receded hundreds of feet in some shallow areas.

The lake level has cycled up and down over decades, but officials say this is a particularly bad stretch, and a just-completed two-year study shows increased municipal water pumping is a factor, said the White Bear Press.

The USGS is applying for a $500,000 grant from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund to continue the investigation.

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In the application, USGS hydrologist Perry Jones said:

“Water levels in many (northeast metro) lakes, including White Bear Lake, have reached historically low levels, due in part to low precipitation and increased water extraction from local aquifers. Low water levels in aquifers have increased the amount of lake water flow into underlying aquifers and wells. This increase can have adverse economic impacts on municipalities near lakes.”

Without significant rain to replenish the lake, changes in water use may be needed, the paper said, and the new study would help area communities “develop municipal water pumping schemes to reduce the impact on lake levels.”

“The results from this project will provide municipalities in the (northeast metro) area the decision making tools critical for meeting drinking water demands with growing populations while minimizing impact to lake water levels,” Jones said.