Red River Valley Water Supply Project

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The Garrison Diversion Conservancy District (Garrison Diversion) and Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA) are requesting $30 million for the Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP) from the State Water Commission’s budget for the 2017-2019 biennium.  “Obtaining $30 million is essential for three reasons.  First, it will allow us to stay on a critical path to complete the project effectively and efficiently.  Second, we can start strategic construction to ensure coverage under current regulations.  And third, we can position key components of the project to be shovel ready,” says Tim Mahoney, Lake Agassiz Water Authority Board Chairman. 
       If approved, the $30 million would be used to exercise existing easement options that will otherwise expire, wrap up the preliminary design of the pipeline, acquire the remaining easement options, complete the final design of the pipeline as well as the intake and discharge structures, and start construction to ensure coverage under current regulations and permitting.
State Funds Supplemented by Local Share
“Our legislative request includes a continued cost-share of 90 percent state funds and a 10 percent local funds to keep the project affordable for water systems, which is critical to the sustainability of the project,” says Mahoney. 
The funding approved during the last legislative session will be expended by the end of the current biennium, which ends in June 2017.  The state-appropriated $12.359 million and 10 percent local share of $1.4 million was devoted to completing the project’s conceptual design. The funding also was allocated to the project’s preliminary design, which is currently in progress.
The $30 million request is one fifth of the $150 million of legislative intent outlined during the last legislative session.  “We understand the critical needs of the state and the funding constraints due to lower oil prices resulting in lower deposits in the Resources Trust Fund. When asked by legislators what level of funding was truly needed this session, we took a hard look at the numbers.  It became clear that $30 million in state funds is essential to the Red River Valley Water Supply Project to remain on a critical path forward,” says Mahoney. 
Proactive Financial Modeling Makes the Most of Investments
Garrison Diversion hired Ernst & Young Infrastructure Advisors to perform financial models of the RRVWSP in order to make the most effective use of funding at the most strategic points in time.  The project team also reviewed design and construction phasing at length, and made adjustments.  This process allowed them to come up with a legislative request that would continue the project’s momentum for the next two years.  The goal is to begin phased bidding and construction of the RRVWSP in 2019.

Garrison Diversion and LAWA hosted an educational event about the RRVWSP for legislators on Feb. 2, 2017 in Bismarck.