Red River Valley Water Supply Project

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Supporters and end users of the Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP) have been making regular trips to Bismarck since the legislative session kicked off at the beginning of 2023. As representatives of the Project’s largest end users, leaders from the Cities of Grand Forks, Fargo, and West Fargo testified regularly in support of funding for the RRVWSP. Board members and staff from Garrison Diversion Conservancy District (Garrison Diversion) and Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA), the co-Sponsors of the State RRVWSP, also travelled to the Capitol to represent the Project.

State Water Commission Budget

Senate Bill (SB) 2020, the Department of Water Resources budget bill, was passed by the full Senate 46-1 at the end of February and included $953 million over 10 years for the RRVWSP.  The House is now considering SB 2020. “A State commitment to completing construction, beyond the funding request this biennium, allows for a cost-efficient construction schedule and will reduce our risk of impacts from continuing inflation,” says Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski.  

Garrison Diversion, LAWA, and project participants requested $255 million in SB 2020 to fund construction during the 2023-2025 biennium. The legislative request is based on the project’s design progress and capability of construction crews to accelerate the project’s timeline. “Time is of the essence, as a cost-efficient construction schedule reduces the risk of ongoing inflation and reduces the political risks associated with competition from other States wishing to access the Missouri River downstream,” explains Dr. Tim Mahoney, LAWA Chairman and Fargo Mayor.

The work plan for the upcoming biennium includes construction, continued project design, and phase 1 design of the Eastern North Dakota Alternate Water Supply Project (ENDAWS). To accomplish the plan, about $340 million of funding is needed. The $255 million legislative request is equal to 75% of the work plan budget. The remaining $85 million is the local share the Project’s end users will contribute.

As approved by the Senate, the Department of Water Resources budget includes $175 million for RRVWSP for the 2023-2025 biennium. If approved by the House, the legislation will move on to Gov. Doug Burgum for his signature.