The Water Commission is involved in a wide variety of water projects throughout North Dakota. Many of the more prominent projects are listed here.
Dam Safety The purpose of North Dakota's dam safety program is to minimize the risk to life and property associated with the potential failure of dams in the state. A primary function of North Dakota's dam safety program is to conduct dam inspections in order to identify deficient dams in need of maintenance or repair. North Dakota's dam safety program also maintains and updates an inventory of dams in North Dakota.
MR&I Water Supply The focus of the MR&I program is to solve water quantity and quality problems of water systems. In 1986, the federal government authorized the Municipal, Rural and Industrial (MR&I) water supply program, funded partially by a $200 million federal grant, which has helped many North Dakota water systems obtain a clean, reliable supply of water for residences, farms, schools, hospitals and industries. An additional $200 million has been authorized in the Dakota Water Resources Act of 2000 (DWRA) to help further meet statewide water requirements. In spite of the work completed, many water systems need assistance.
Northwest Area Water Supply
Another part of the arid west-central section of North Dakota is waiting for the same taste of clean, clear water that many of their neighbors to the south are already enjoying. Many cities and rural areas in the NAWS project area have domestic water supplies with less than desirable quality.
NAWS would bring water as far north as Sherwood, to Bottineau in the east, and Divide County in the west. The city of Minot in Ward County will also get its water from the Northwest Area Water Supply project. Like the Southwest Pipeline and the other MR&I programs, the $115 million Northwest Area Water Supply project will be funded at 65% with federal funds from Garrison and 35% with local funds provided by the communities that will use the water. After construction, the cost of operating the water delivery system is borne by the user who purchases the water.
The benefits of NAWS would include not only a clean and abundant of water for the residents of North Dakota, but a more inviting home for a potential industry and stronger economy.
Red River Basin The majority of water resource districts in North Dakota are established along county boundaries. Because water does not respect political boundaries, cooperation is sometimes required among many water resource districts to manage water at the watershed level. For this reason, the North Dakota Legislature enacted the Joint Exercise of Powers Statute - establishing the ability to form joint water resource districts in 1975.
Less than 15 inches of rain falls on southwestern North Dakota each year. That's not nearly enough to keep wells in the area from running dry and streams and reservoirs from emptying out. In 1977, the State Water Commission began studying the difficult task of bringing enough clean water to the southwest to support the people there. The subsequent pipeline has already brought water to a number of threatened communities in the southwest. More are waiting for the project to be completed. The pipeline brings water from Lake Sakakawea, the giant reservoir created by the Garrison Dam, to Dickinson. In Dickinson the water is treated and sent on its way to Mott, New England, Richardton, Golden Valley, and other communities including the city of Dickinson. That means that tens of thousands of homes, farms, schools, and other facilities have a reliable supply of clean water.
Western Area Water Supply Project The Western Area Water Supply Project (WAWSP) is a domestic water project utilizing Missouri River water to meet the municipal, rural, and industrial water needs for all or parts of McKenzie, Williams, Divide, Burke, and Mountrail Counties (including the Cities of Williston, Watford City, Ray, Tioga, Stanley, Wildrose, and Crosby). The primary focus of the project is to supply drinking water for estimated 48,000 (peak pop.) expected in 2032.