The department and its Water Resources Center has statutory authority for water quantity issues such as statewide water use and availability, water resources monitoring and planning, drought assessment, flood and hydrology studies, wetland studies and dam safety. Missouri shares its water with bordering states, 26 other states (as either an upstream or downstream state) and two Canadian provinces. The Water Resources staff represents Missouri on water resource issues that traverse political boundaries including the Mississippi, Missouri and White rivers and their basins.

In addition, the Dam and Reservoir Safety program and council are responsible for ensuring dams are constructed, maintained and operated safely. Staff regulate all new and existing non-agricultural, non-federal dams 35 feet or more in height to ensure they meet minimum safety standards.


The Surface Water Section provides technical support by performing water supply analyses, in-stream flow assessments and floodplain studies. The surface water section also administers the collection and analysis of statewide water use data in accordance with the Major Water User Law.

Interstate Waters

The Interstate Waters Staff coordinates issues relating to major river basins that affect Missouri, and provides technical support for negotiations and litigation actions to protect the state’s rights to this water

Water Planning

The State Water Plan staff provide technical support to the Missouri Drought Assessment Committee, and leadership and coordination of State Water Resources.


Wetlands are transition areas between dry land and open waters; however, they are not always wet. These areas can provide habitat for fish and wildlife and recreation areas for people to hunt, fish and enjoy watching nature. Missouri has eight types of natural wetlands including: swamps, shrub swamps, forested wetlands, marshes, wet meadows, fens and seeps, pond and lake borders and stream banks.