Red River Valley Water Supply Project

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Merri Mooridian 2017Work keeps Merri Mooridian very busy these days.  Since the Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP) took off, she has split her time as the Administrative Officer of the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District (Garrison Diversion) and Deputy Program Manager of RRVWSP Administration.  In her RRVWSP role, Merri oversees the administrative, legal, financial, and communication considerations of the project, while coordinating those efforts with the RRVWSP engineering and land management activities.  She celebrated her 15 year anniversary with Garrison Diversion this year, where she started as the Assistant Communications Director.

Due the size of the RRVWSP, it’s no surprise that much of her time is now spent focused on the project. When she talks about it, you can tell Merri is passionate about creating a successful project that will help protect communities and water systems from the effects of future droughts.

“A long term drought would be devastating to central and eastern North Dakota. Many people don’t realize a 1930s style drought is expected to occur again by 2050. We can avert this crisis with the Red River Valley Water Supply Project. Just last year, western North Dakota experienced an extreme drought. A long term drought in the Red River Valley would have an estimated economic impact of $25 billion – the entire state would be impacted by that,” she says.

“The need for this project has been known for decades. After many setbacks, the project now has broad support across the state and is progressing forward. In fact, 35 communities and rural water systems in central and eastern North Dakota committed to the development of the Project,” says Merri.  “My current focus is developing a solid financial model that will allow communities and rural water systems to participate in the Red River Valley Water Supply Project. This project is unique because it is supplemental water, not a replacement. Each water system will continue to operate and maintain existing facilities and this project will be an additional cost for each water system.”

When she’s not diligently working on Garrison Diversion and RRVWSP initiatives, Merri says one of her passions is traveling and exploring new places. Fitting for a person who has devoted much of her career to water, Merri also loves summers at the lake where she spends time with family and friends, as well as water skiing. Merri and her husband, Jeff, have been married for 28 years.  The couple has two grown children, Mike and Chelsi.