RRVWSP Construction Acceleration Proposed

Posted: Dec 21 2021
RRVWSP Construction Acceleration Proposed

Construction crews for the Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP) made great progress on the buried water pipeline this fall due to the unseasonably warm weather. An accelerated construction timeline is being discussed as Garrison Diversion Conservancy District (Garrison Diversion) and Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA) leaders consider the potential for ongoing drought conditions into 2022 and beyond.

In October, the State Water Commission approved the disbursal of $47.5 million for the RRVWSP from this biennium’s allotted funding.  “Garrison Diversion, LAWA, and the associated communities and rural water systems thank the State Water Commission for providing this funding so we can continue to get pipe into the ground on schedule,” says Duane DeKrey, Garrison Diversion General Manager.

The RRVWSP is currently on a 10-year construction plan. Due to the ongoing drought threat, RRVWSP stakeholders are proposing a six-year construction period to provide drought mitigation benefits sooner to the Project’s end users. Garrison Diversion and LAWA are holding discussions with legislative leadership, the Governor’s office, and the Department of Water Resources about taking advantage of the strong state funding outlook and the healthy financial markets to accelerate construction and complete the RRVWSP earlier than originally planned.

“Accelerating construction could make the Red River Valley Water Supply Project more affordable for the Project’s users and the State of North Dakota,” says Merri Mooridian, Deputy Program Manager of RRVWSP Administration. “This will minimize the inflation risks that threaten to price out the smaller communities. It will also shorten the project’s timeline so the emergency and supplemental water supply can be delivered where it’s needed, much sooner.”

North Dakota received about $1.1 billion in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). During a five-day Special Legislative Session, North Dakota lawmakers determined $75 million in ARPA funding would be allocated towards water infrastructure projects. The money will be expended by the State Water Commission (SWC) first for any project that is eligible per federal guidelines. The RRVWSP could qualify for this additional funding. The SWC will ultimately determine how much of the $75 million in ARPA funding will be allocated to the RRVWSP.