Room for sale of private, public bulk water in NDGreetings from your District 36 senator. The Water-Related Topics Overview Committee met last month in Williston. We received an update from the Western Area Water Supply Authority (WAWSA) and other area interests.
By: George Nodland, The Dickinson Press
Greetings from your District 36 senator.
The Water-Related Topics Overview Committee met last month in Williston. We received an update from the Western Area Water Supply Authority (WAWSA) and other area interests.
The WAWSA project began in 2011 with funding from North Dakota through the state Legislature and the state Water Commission. The project will give rural, municipal and commercial water to rural areas in five counties in northwest North Dakota and 11 communities. It will also provide water for the oil industry with 12 bulk-fill depot locations.
Projected completion of the project is 2015. Construction to date includes the main transmission line from Williston both north and south of 10 1/2 miles of pipeline and three bulk-fill depot locations.
The projected construction for this year is south to Watford City and partial rural areas of McKenzie County. Also transmission lines, pump stations and reservoirs for Ray, Tioga, Stanley, Ross, Wildrose, Crosby, Columbus, Fortuna and Ambrose, plus three bulk-fill depot locations, are projected to be completed this year.
The project has changed since the beginning due to population growth in the area and rural area interest.
The original business plan was a projected population peak of 42,000 to 48,000 people. Currently, projected population growth is a peak of 75,000 people.
This area is now the major oil-producing area of the Bakken oil play in North Dakota. Rural water hookup requests have also exceeded projections from 500 to more than 6,000.
The project proposes that the oil industry will pay for 80 percent of the project cost through the sale of bulk water needed for fracking oil wells.
This has caused concern for the independent water producers who have obtained state water permits to draw water from ground sources to sell to the oil companies.
They feel the competition from a public-sponsored entity is unfair competition to them.
I feel there is room for private and public bulk water sales. There is a tremendous need for water for the oil industry.
The fact that the Corp of Engineers will not give a water permit to the private industry for water sales magnifies this situation.
Williston has a large enough water permit from the Missouri River to handle this project. We need to support the oil industry with its water needs as it is giving us the greatest economy North Dakota has seen over the past 100 years.
The real benefit of this project is that rural and municipal people in this area will have a dependable water supply much sooner than the State Water Commission could provide, plus, the oil industry will pay 80 percent.
The Southwest Water Authority, our area, has been in existence for more than 20 years and is not completed to date. We need to complete this project ASAP as our water demand is growing just like the WASWA water demands. This needs to be high-priority funding for the next legislative session. Water is essential to human life and commerce.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Please contact me with your thoughts and concerns.
Nodland is the District 36 senator, Dickinson.