ND Water Magazine: July 2023
Legislative Funding Will Accelerate RRVWSP Progress
Thanks to the 2023 North Dakota Legislature, the Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP) has a commitment from
the state to provide drought protection to nearly half of the state’s residents.
“We thank the lawmakers who supported legislation that will make this drought resiliency project a reality within the next 10 years,” says Duane DeKrey, Garrison Diversion Conservancy District (Garrison Diversion) general manager. “To receive legislative intent during this session is a big deal for the project and we’re grateful the state has committed to seeing the project through until it’s completed.” Garrison Diversion is a co-sponsor of the RRVWSP along with Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA).
North Dakota lawmakers approved legislative intent for the RRVWSP totaling $953 million in future funding, including $180 million in the Department of Water Resources budget, SB 2020, for the 2023-2025 biennium. “This budget will help improve North Dakota’s resiliency to floods and droughts. It supports beneficial use of our most abundant water supply, the Missouri River. And it allows us to work smarter and more efficiently in support of our team. As a result, North Dakotans will experience the benefits of this legislation for decades,” Department of Water Resources Director Andrea Travnicek said. Gov. Doug Burgum signed SB 2020 on May 12.
In addition, long-term, affordable financing was approved for cities and rural water systems participating in the RRVWSP that utilizes the state’s water infrastructure revolving loan fund (WIRLF). “Access to long-term, low-interest loans means cities and water systems will better be able to afford to participate in the project. They will reap the drought resiliency and economic development rewards that having a plentiful water source provides,” says Merri Mooridian, Garrison Diversion administrative
officer and deputy program manager of RRVWSP administration.