Less than two years after it was authorized by the state legislature, the Western Area Water Supply project is delivering Missouri River water to a local community.
The WAWS line was turned on this morning in Watford City.
Officials celebrated the arrival of a clean, new water source in the heart of oil country.
Watford City Mayor Brent Sanford did the honors, opening the valve to let the Missouri River WAWS water fill the first water reservoir for the town.
WAWS Executive Director Jaret Wirtz says a number of options were considered before WAWS was deemed the most cost-effective.
(Jaret Wirtz, Executive Director of Western Area Water Supply) (I can hear the water!) "We had this resource on all sides of McKenzie County and we weren't taking advantage of it."
WAWS meets the existing Southwest water project at the Southern border of McKenzie County and it will meet the NAWS border to the east.
Crosby will make the transition to WAWS next week.
Northwest North Dakota communities such as Tioga and Stanley will be added early in 2013.
(Jaret Wirtz, Executive Director of Western Area Water Supply) "There is limitations on the size of the pipe. We built it for future growth but the way things have been growing here in Western North Dakota, someday we could have to add pump stations, more reservoirs. Hopefully we never have to put in an additional line but there is always that possibility."
During the transition, Wirtz says it's possible residents may notice changes in the tap water such as cloudiness, discoloration and odor.
WAWS contractor Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services says the water will be safe to drink during the transition period which could last for up to 30 days.