In recent years, WBL has lost 25 percent of its water surface.
Absent augmentation, WBL will continue to disappear
- According to the USGS Study, even with average rainfall, the lake will lose 4 to 6 inches a year.
Ramsey County Beach has been closed for seven years; absent augmentation the beach will remain closed indefinitely.
WBL is uniquely connected to the groundwater system and the aquifer below.
- The DNR confirmed this fact in a 1998 study. The USGS Phase One Study of WBL published in 2013 confirmed the earlier DNR study and found that water from WBL is being drawn out of the lake
Groundwater pumping has more than doubled around WBL, increasing from 1.87 billion gallons in 1980 to 4.57 billion in 2007.
The Mississippi is an abundant, sustainable water supply. We currently draw only 2% of this resource.
- The St. Paul Water System, drawing from the Mississippi, has an enormous excess capacity of 7 billion gallons per year. WBL water levels could be raised dramatically by directing a very small fraction of this water from the St. Paul Water System to the lake.
Two other lakes within five miles of WBL are currently being successfully augmented with Mississippi River water under DNR permits. A third lake is in the permitting process for augmentation.
- Augmentation, the process of bringing filtered water to WBL from the Mississippi, would both raise the lake level and recharge the underlying aquifer.
Augmentation Working Facts:
- There is a mapped route of less than four miles with no major highway crossings with direct access to WBL from Vadnais Lake, a part of the St. Paul Water System
- The St. Paul Water System predicts the water quality of this source would equal or exceed that of WBL.
- The cost of this route including design, construction, pumps, filters, and all other infrastructure is approximately $12-25 million.
* Read Article: Alternative Cost and Augmentation Facts for White Bear Lake
- Every drop of water deposited into WBL either raises the lake level or recharges the aquifer below the lake.
- Raising the lake level through augmentation will reverse the degradation of White Bear making it less susceptible to invasive species and restore public lake access, which has vastly diminished in recent years.