Posted: Mar 22 2017
Funding request for project trimmed
The Leader-News & Underwood News
Alyssa Meier, Editor
 
After initially requesting $150 million, Red River Valley Water Supply Project officials are now asking the State for only a fraction of that in the 2017-19 budget.

Four-fifths of the original total was lobbed off of the RRVWSP request after State legislators asked organizations to accommodate a tight biennium budget. Materials provided by Garrison Diversion state that it is “imperative” that the project receives the $30 million requisition.

The RRVWSP funding priorities for 2017-19 are split into six areas that total $33.3 million. This total includes acquiring remaining easement options and exercising existing options that will otherwise expire, completing final design of strategic section of pipeline and of the Missouri River Intake and Discharge Structure, starting construction on the project and paying administrative, legal and financial fees. The additional $3.3 million would be provided by the Lake Agassiz Water Authority under a 90/10 cost-share agreement between it and the state.

The project received $12.3 million from the State Legislature for the 2015-17 biennium, with $1.4 million matched by LAWA and $5.3 million provided by local investments.

Garrison Diversion General Manager Duane DeKrey didn't disclose what was trimmed off of the original $150 million request, stating cuts were expected going into the legislature.

The $33.3 million in funding would be the next step in a lengthy and expensive process, estimated to cost a total of anywhere from $900 million to $1.17 billion. The total cost of the project depends on whether a system with a 150 cubic feet per second of water flow or one with 180 cubic feet per second is chosen. The 150 cfs project would cost a total of $947 million, while the faster flowing pipeline is priced at $1.174 billion. These numbers don't include any pipeline extensions, but figures in administration, engineering, legal and real estate costs.

The pipeline's exact route hasn't been determined, but it is expected to start near Washburn along Highway 200. It would proceed east to Baldhill Creek or the Sheyenne River and provide water to areas that often face water shortages in the eastern part of the state.

A loose timeline for the project sets preliminary design to be finished this spring, with phased final design to wrap up during the 2017-19 biennium. At the same time, construction is expected to start in order to ensure coverage under current regulations. Project bidding and remaining construction is expected to take place between 2019 and 2032.

The State Legislature is still examining requests and finalizing the budget for the biennium.