Red River Valley Water Supply Project

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As the President of the Northeast Regional Water District, Rick Bigwood had the opportunity to also serve on the Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA) Board of Directors. The Northeast Regional Water District was created when Langdon Rural Water and North Valley Water Systems combined. Rick is well-versed in the issues rural water systems face in North Dakota.

Rick BWhile serving on the LAWA Board of Directors, Rick has been involved in the Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP). LAWA is a co-sponsor of the RRVWSP alongside the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District.

“Now that actual construction of the intake, wet well, discharge structure, and some transmission pipe installation has taken place, I’m reminded of the time and hard work that it has taken to get here. I think my first LAWA meeting was in 2004. Ken Vein, LaVonne Althoff, and I are the only original Board members still serving.  The others have passed or moved on. The time and dedication of the Garrison Diversion staff and the various engineering teams to get to this point takes a lot of patience and perseverance,” says Rick.

“Most of the rural water systems involved in this project are supplied by underground aquifers and not surface water for their source of water.  The Red River Valley Water Supply Project will bring Missouri River water by buried pipelines to Lake Ashtabula. The water is then fed downstream in the Sheyenne to the Red River to supply water to reach final users,” he explains. “This drought mitigation project has brought rural systems together to review how we can interconnect with the source and each other to access resources in times of water shortages.”

Rick says the RRVWSP is important to central and eastern North Dakota, and the entire state as well. “The Missouri River is such an important asset that can provide supplemental and emergency water in times of drought while taking less than 1% of its total,” says Rick.

When he’s not working on the Northeast Regional Water District or LAWA Boards, Rick farms with his brother and son on their fifth-generation family farm at St. Thomas. He and his wife, Susan, have been married for 43 years. The couple has two adult children who are both married and four grandsons. Rick enjoys spending time with the grandkids, as well as bicycling and playing guitar in his free time.