Red River Valley Water Supply Project

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Representatives of the cosponsors of the Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP) say they are pleased with how the Project fared during North Dakota’s 67th legislative session. Garrison Diversion Conservancy District (Garrison Diversion) and Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA) leadership traveled to Bismarck throughout the session in support of the RRVWSP.

“We are thankful for the support the Red River Valley Water Supply Project received from legislators and the State Water Commission. With the ongoing drought conditions across North Dakota, the need for this drought mitigation project is clear,” says Merri Mooridian, Garrison Diversion Administrative Officer and Deputy Program Manager for RRVWSP Administration.

House Bill 1020 – State Water Commission Budget
The Garrison Diversion and LAWA request for $50 million in the State Water Commission’s budget for the 2021-2023 biennium was granted.

“This is the first time the Project has received the full amount requested in the State Water Commission budget. Construction officially began in December 2020 and we have a lot of pipeline installation to complete this year. This funding will allow us to make good progress in a timely manner,” says Duane DeKrey, Garrison Diversion General Manager.

House Bill 1425 – Legacy Infrastructure Revolving Loan Fund
House Bill 1425 created a Legacy Infrastructure Loan Fund through the Bank of North Dakota. The fund can be utilized for eligible infrastructure projects such as the RRVWSP, water and wastewater treatment plants, sewer and water pipelines, water storage systems, stormwater infrastructure, road and bridge infrastructure, airport infrastructure, electricity transmission infrastructure, natural gas transmission infrastructure, communications infrastructure, emergency services facilities, and essential political subdivision building and infrastructure.

As per HB 1425, loans from the Legacy Infrastructure Loan Fund must have an interest rate that does not exceed 2% per year and the maximum loan term is the lesser of 30 years or the useful life of the project.

Garrison Diversion and LAWA requested a 40-year loan term with a cap of two percent interest to ensure the smaller communities and rural water systems could have affordable access to the drinking water and industrial water benefits the RRVWSP will provide.

“The Red River Valley Water Supply Project is designed to provide generations of future North Dakotans an emergency and supplemental water supply, so loans extended from the Legacy Infrastructure Loan Fund for the Project should be for a longer term,” explains DeKrey. 

House Bill 1431 – Infrastructure Bonding Bill
HB 1431 added $50 million to the existing infrastructure revolving loan fund from which the Bank of North Dakota can provide loans to Garrison Diversion and LAWA for essential infrastructure projects, which includes the RRVWSP. The maximum term for these loans is 30 years, with an interest rate of 2% per year. Additionally, a new Water Revolving Loan Fund was created that the Bank of North Dakota will manage with the priority to water projects that do not qualify for other revolving loan programs such as the CWRLF and DWRLF.

The bill also committed to bonding for projects. The FM Diversion project will benefit from bonding for $435.5 million – which complete the State’s obligation to the project. Bonding for large projects such as FM Diversion help to open up future funding for the RRVWSP and other water projects.

“Overall, we are pleased to have received critical funding to move the project forward. With over $200 million in shovel ready construction, it is important to be able to bid and begin construction to minimize project costs long-term,” says Mooridian.

Garrison Diversion intends to celebrate the commencement of the pipeline construction at the beginning of August.