Q. What is the Red River Valley Water Supply Project?
A. The Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP) isa drought resliency project and economic development initiative that wll deliver Missouri River water to central and eastern North Dakota through a buried pipeline.
Q. Why is the Red River Valley Water Supply Project needed?
A. Surface water supplies in central North Dakota and the Red River Valley are limited and unreliable, particularly under drought conditions. Additionally, limited groundwater supplies are nearly fully appropriated. The RRVWSP is needed because existing water supplies will be inadequate during a drought. In addition, current industrial water demand already exceeds the available water supply. A 10-year drought similar to the 1930s dust bowl would have a $33 billion economic impact, which would have a devastating impact on the state’s communities and industries.
Q. What is the source of the supplemental water supply for the Red River Valley Water Supply Project?
A. The RRVWSP will deliver Missouri River water to central and eastern North Dakota via a buried pipeline.
Q. Why was the Missouri River selected as the source of the supplemental water supply for the Red River Valley Water Supply Project instead of Devils Lake?
A. A primary purpose of the RRVWSP is to provide water during times of drought. Devils Lake is not a sustainable water supply during periods of drought. It is also important to note the water quality in Devils Lake is very high in sulfates and salinity compared to water from the Missouri River.
In contrast, the Missouri River is a plentiful supplemental water source. The RRVWSP will draw only 0.7 of a percent (.007) of the water available in the Missouri River to sustain the entire central and eastern portion of North Dakota.
Q. Which organizations oversee the Red River Valley Water Supply Project?
A. The Garrison Diversion Conservancy District is the state lead and cosponsors the RRVWSP with the Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA), representing water users in central North Dakota and the Red River Valley.
Q. Who will benefit from the Red River Valley Water Supply Project?
A. Roughly half of the population of the State of North Dakota will benefit from the RRVWSP when it is complete. The benefiting population includes residents and customers of the 30+ cities and rural water systems in central and eastern North Dakota that committed to help fund the development portion of the project.
Q. How did the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District (Garrison Diversion) and Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA) gauge interest in the Red River Valley Water Supply Project?
A. Throughout 2016, staff and board members from Garrison Diversion and LAWA held more than 100 informational meetings with communities and rural water systems across central and eastern North Dakota. After those meetings, 35 cities and rural water systems made financial commitments to the development of the RRVWSP.
Q. Which 35 cities and water systems are committed to the development portion of the Red River Valley Water Supply Project?
A. The 35 communities and rural water systems that have provided initial commitment to the RRVWSP include the Cities of Carrington, Cooperstown, Devils Lake, East Grand Forks, Fargo which includes service to West Fargo, Forman, Grafton, Grand Forks, Hannaford, Hillsboro, Langdon, Larimore, Lisbon, Mayville, McVille, Park River, Tuttle, Valley City, and Wahpeton; as well as the Agassiz Water Users District, Barnes Rural Water District, Cass Rural Water Users District, Central Plains Water District, Dakota Rural Water District, Grand Forks-Traill Water District, Greater Ramsey Water District, McLean-Sheridan Rural Water, Northeast Regional Water District, Richland County Job Development Authority, South Central Regional Water District, Southeast Water Users District, Stutsman Rural Water District/Jamestown, Traill Rural Water Users, Inc., Tri-County Rural Water District, and Walsh Rural Water District.
Q. How much supplemental water will be available when the Red River Valley Water Supply Project is complete?
A. The 35 cities and rural water districts that committed to the project nominated for a total of 159.23 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water. The Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP) is being designed to provide 165 cfs of supplemental water.
Q. How will the Red River Valley Water Supply Project deliver water from the Missouri River to central and eastern North Dakota?
A. The RRVWSP will use a buried pipeline to carry Missouri River water from the McClusky Canal in central ND and along Highway 200 to the Sheyenne River, which will provide an emergency water supply to users in central and eastern North Dakota.
Q. Will the Red River Valley Water Supply Project make use of the McClusky Canal?
A. The RRVWSP team has continually looked into options involving utilizing the McClusky Canal to efficiently deliver a supplemental supply of water to central and eastern North Dakota. The McClusky Canal is owned by the Bureau of Reclamation. Garrison Diversion has negotiated a water service contract with the Bureau of Reclamation to serve the users in central North Dakota with 20 cfs from the McClusky Canal through the Central North Dakota Water Supply Project.
In addition, Garrison Diversion, on behalf of the State of North Dakota, requested a contract for 145 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water from Reclamation’s McClusky Canal as a water source for the State RRVWSP. The Eastern North Dakota Alternate Water Supply (ENDAWS) would provide an alternative option for the eastern North Dakota bulk water supply for the State RRVWSP.
An Environmental Impact Statement was completed on ENDAWS, and the Record of Decision was signed by
Reclamation on Jan. 15, 2021, enabling the project to progress. ENDAWS features are eligible for federal funding.
Q. How is the Red River Valley Water Supply Project different than the Garrison Diversion project?
A. It is important to note that the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District, frequently referred to as ‘Garrison Diversion’, is the state lead and cosponsor of the RRVWSP alongside the Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA), who represents the local water users in the project.
Previously, a federal project called the Garrison Diversion Unit was designed as a series of enclosed reservoirs and pump stations, with one of the Garrison Diversion Unit’s primary purposes being irrigation. Congress halted the project. The Garrison Diversion Conservancy District has since developed separate irrigation projects to benefit the state’s agriculture industry. See full GDU project history here: History and Federal Legislation
In contrast, the state and local RRVWSP will use buried pipelines to transport Missouri River water to central and eastern North Dakota. The purpose of the RRVWSP is to provide a supplemental water supply during times of drought, as well as promote industrial development.
Q. Is there enough state and local support for the Red River Valley Water Supply Project to move forward without the federal government?
A. Yes. The North Dakota State Legislature included $50 million for the RRVWSP for the 2021-2023 biennium in the State Water Commission budget, which will allow the project to move forward by funding Missouri River Intake screens and tunnel construction, Segment 1 of the main transmission pipeline, and additional land acquisition.
Q. When will construction of the Red River Valley Water Supply Project begin?
A. In December 2020, project construction began with the Missouri River intake wet well, about four miles south of Washburn. The first pipeline was installed in Foster County in August 2021.
Q. How can I get more information about the Red River Valley Water Supply Project?