The Dane County Drainage District is governed by Wis. Stats Chapter 88 and Wis. Administration Code ATCP Chapter 48 and currently operated by a three-person board. The Board members are appointed by the circuit court and must include one experienced farmer familiar with drainage and one member familiar to some extent with drainage engineering. The Board must consist of at least three members but may include up to five. Members serve staggered three year terms. There are roughly 20 Dane County Drainage Districts.
Drainage districts include and benefit both agricultural and non-agricultural lands. Property owners who benefit from drainage districts pay assessments to cover operating expenses which include annual inspections of the drains and, as necessary, design, construction, and maintenance, including cleaning and repairing of district drains. The Board performs an annual inspection of each drainage district to determine its condition and whether work is needed to ensure it is functioning properly. If work is required, the Dane Co. Drainage Board obtains estimates for such work and assesses any costs among the members of the drainage district on a basis proportionate to the benefits received.