The Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources is responsible for administering the use, allocation, and control of waters in the state, as well as the establishment, maintenance, and control of lake levels and water storage reservoirs. Local governments may apply to the Commissioner to request authority to establish and monitor water levels.
Permits from the Commissioner are required for water diversion or consumptive use greater than 2,000,000 gallons per day, or for diversion or consumptive use from the Great Lakes greater than 5,000,000 gallons per day. Additional restrictions may apply when certain water sources are used. Water use for once-through cooling systems is restricted, in the majority of cases, to 5,000,000 gallons annually. No major change in the operation of an installation using the waters of the state may be made without a permit from the commissioner. More specific regulations can be found in the Minnesota Administrative Rules, sections 6115.0300-0810.