The need for the Red River Water Supply Project (RRWVSP) arose from the drought-prone Red River and supported studies that show a severe drought, similar to that of the 1930s, will likely repeat by the year 2050. Surface water supplies in Central North Dakota and the Red River Valley are limited and unreliable, particularly under drought conditions. Existing supplies are inadequate for a drought. Additionally, limited groundwater supplies are nearly fully appropriated.  With continued growth and industrial development, the RRVWSP is needed to mitigate against drought conditions that would cause costly water shortages, foster economic development by meeting municipal, industrial and rural water demands, and promote environmental sustainability. The industrial need is becoming more dynamic in North Dakota over time, not less.
The RRVWSP is necessary to protect our communities and economy from the devastating effects of drought.  The estimated financial impact of a drought similar to the one Fargo, North Dakota experienced in the 1930s is $33 billion (2021$) over a ten-year period.  In addition, State law discourages the conversion of groundwater irrigation to drinking water.  The emergency water supply to central and eastern North Dakota during times of water scarcity will protect public health, ensure ongoing economic vitality, and provide for environmental benefits in the river systems.