Gov. Mark Dayton paused Tuesday before making an announcement.
“Good Minnesota clean water…” he declared after drinking from a blue bottle at the Minnesota State Fair. “May we always keep it available.”
Dayton then asked every Minnesotan to take a pledge to care for the state’s water.
“It is something we can no longer take for granted,” he said in front of the Department of Natural Resources’ fair fish pond.
Pollution Control Commissioner John Linc Stine said just 2 percent of Minnesota’s water comes from outside the state, so no one is to blame but its residents for the 40 percent of watersheds that fail to meet water standards.
Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said that not only is clean water safe, but it also helps create a better economy.
And Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson encouraged landowners to “plant cover crops and buffer strips” to help clean up water by reducing runoff.
Dayton is leading a year-long charge to improve the state’s water after Stine’s department issued reports showing poor water quality in many parts of the state, but especially the southwest where farming is intense.
The pledge Dayton wants Minnesotans to take reads:
“I know that water is critical to my life. Because water is so critical, I vow to be a good steward of our water.
“I today take the Minnesota Water Stewardship Pledge to affirm my commitment to:
“Rethink how water impacts my life, and the lives of future generations.
“Use water efficiently and wisely in my everyday activities.
“Learn more about what people can do to protect and preserve water.
“Factor water use efficiency and protection into the choices as a consumer.
“Talk to others about clean water protection and preservation.”