Half of North Dakota’s Population to Benefit from the Red River Valley Water Supply Project

Posted: Nov 09 2017

            Upon its completion, roughly half of the population of the State of North Dakota will benefit from the Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP).  The RRVWSP is a plan to safeguard water for North Dakota communities and rural water systems in times of drought, as well as promote industrial development. 

“A drought like the one North Dakota experienced in the 1930s would have a devastating impact on the state’s industries and communities.  The RRVWSP will protect North Dakota from that probability,” says Tim Mahoney, Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA) Board Chairman.

The RRVWSP will use a buried pipeline to carry Missouri River water along Highway 200 to the Sheyenne River, which will provide a supplemental water supply to users in central and eastern North Dakota.
35 Commitments to Date
Throughout 2016, staff members from the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District (Garrison Diversion) and LAWA held informational meetings with communities and water systems in central and eastern North Dakota that could benefit from the project.  Thirty-five cities and water systems committed to help fund the development portion of the project which includes conceptual engineering, phased preliminary engineering, and financial modeling. 
“Over the past two years, we’ve made enormous strides with this project.  We had an outstanding sign-up response and now we’re really digging into the project so we can deliver this much needed water to our project partners,” says Duane DeKrey, Garrison Diversion General Manager.

State Funding Means Progress
The North Dakota State Water Commission’s budget for the 2017-2019 biennium includes up to $30 million for the RRVWSP.  Of the $30 million grant, $17 million will be directed towards planning and permitting, while the remaining $13 million is to initiate construction.  The state funding will allow the project to move forward over the next two years. The goal is to begin phased bidding and construction in 2019.
“We’re working to complete the preliminary design now, and our goal is to get a portion of the final design process completed by the end of 2018.  That way, we can begin phased bidding of the intake, trenchless crossings for the pipeline, and the discharge structure in the spring of 2019.  Potentially, we may be able to complete the discharge structure in that time frame,” explains Kip Kovar, Garrison Diversion District Engineer and Deputy Program Manager for RRVWSP Engineering.

It’s Not Too Late to Join
Although the preliminary design is nearly complete, the window of opportunity to be included in the project has not closed.  “Rural water systems, cities, and Tribes that have an interest in participating in the Red River Valley Water Supply Project should contact us as soon as possible.  It’s not too late to be included.  The benefits of drought protection and the value of future industrial development opportunities related to this supplemental water supply cannot be overstated.  Interested parties can contact me directly to set up a meeting,” says DeKrey.