Red River Valley Water Supply Project

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Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP) organizers are preparing for North Dakota’s 67th Legislative Assembly which begins on Tuesday, January 5. The Project’s cosponsors, Garrison Diversion Conservancy District (Garrison Diversion) and Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA), intend to request $50 million for the upcoming biennium.

The Project team has prioritized design, land acquisition, and construction of the intake and pipeline.

“We’ve acquired the necessary state and federal permits to move into the construction phase of the Red River Valley Water Supply Project. Now we need to ensure the project is funded adequately so construction can continue to move along without delays,” says Merri Mooridian, Deputy Program Manager of RRVWSP Administration and Administrative Officer of Garrison Diversion.

During the 2019 legislative session, the State Water Commission budget included $30 million with a 75% state and 25% local cost share requirement for the Project.

“Affordability for the 35 communities and rural water systems that signed up for the development portion of the RRVWSP remains a top priority. We know the COVID-19 pandemic will negatively impact the amount of available state funding while simultaneously increasing the financial needs of cities and water systems,” says Mooridian. “Garrison Diversion and LAWA plan to request long-term, low interest financing from the State, as the absence of long-term, affordable financing is a challenge for project participants, especially the rural users.”

The RRVWSP will provide a supplemental water supply to central and eastern North Dakota during moderate and severe droughts by transporting Missouri River water via a buried pipeline. The water will enter the pipeline at an intake site near Washburn before traveling east along Highway 200 to the Sheyenne River just north of Valley City. The 72-inch pipe will have the capacity to convey water at 165 cubic feet per second (cfs) during peak demands.

The Project is needed to mitigate against drought conditions that would cause costly water shortages. A drought similar to the 1930s would cost the State an estimated $27 billion now. In addition to providing drought relief, the RRVWSP would foster economic development by meeting municipal, rural and industrial water demands.