Red River Valley Water Supply Project

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Representatives for the Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP) recently provided a status update to the Water Topics Overview Committee.  Ken Royse, Garrison Diversion Conservancy District (Garrison Diversion) Board Chairman, and Tim Mahoney, Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA) Board Chairman, presented in front of the Committee on February 21.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to regularly share what’s happening with the project.  The presentations to the Water Topics Overview Committee keep projects like the RRVWSP and others that receive state funding accountable for moving projects forward,” says Mahoney.

In addition to explaining how the RRVWSP will provide a supplemental water source to nearly half the population of North Dakota to mitigate the effects of drought and boost industrial development, Mahoney and Royse also illustrated how spending on the project remains on course.  The RRVWSP is on track to utilize the $30 million allocated to the RRVWSP in the State Water Commission’s 2017-2019 budget, which includes $17 million for project planning or permitting and $13 million to initiate construction. 

Construction is slated to begin on the intake, pipeline with trenchless crossings, and discharge to the Sheyenne River in May of 2019.  The location of the intake is still being determined.  The project team prefers the McClusky Canal option because it will cost $171 million less than building an intake on the Missouri River.  The McClusky Canal option would also save $4.3 million in annual pumping costs.

“Basically, we’re focused right now on three key project components – prudent spending, starting strategic construction, and developing a solid financial plan,” says Royse.  Garrison Diversion and LAWA are working with Ernst & Young Infrastructure Advisors and AE2S Nexus to analyze financial scenarios and develop a financial plan. 

“As we develop this financial plan, we’re looking for ways to make this project efficient, affordable, and mitigate risks for all of the entities involved.  It needs to be affordable for the end users, or it won’t work,” says Mahoney.  There are currently 20 cities and 15 rural water systems involved in the RRVWSP.

In addition to finalizing the financial plan, the project team says the RRVWSP’s next steps include acquiring easements and completing the final designs of the pipeline, discharge structure and intake.