ND Legislature Approves Bill to Develop Future Water Projects - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

ND Legislature Approves Bill to Develop Future Water Projects

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Bismarck, ND -

The North Dakota Legislature has approved a massive bill that deals with numerous water related issues.

Representatives passed House Bill 2233 this morning.

The bill authorizes lawmakers to start developing a plan for future water projects.

The legislature will start looking at state's role in funding and developing key projects after this session.

Representative Curt Hofstad says flood control for Fargo and the Mouse River are priorities along with a water supply project for the Red River Valley...

"These are billion dollar projects and this body simply needs to begin that planning process so we can move forward and begin a process where we can pay for these things," says Representative Curt Hofstad of Devils Lake. There's also $200 million for further development of the Western Area Water Supply project.

The Independent Water Providers maintain that the state is in direct competition with them, selling water to oil companies to finance WAWS.

But lawmakers agree it's the best way to pay for getting water to communities in western North Dakota.

Hofstad says, "we were comfortable that the market share won't infringe on the independents. It's that 80/20 figure. I think the independents are okay with that as long as we didn't increase that market share."

As far as the Fargo flood control project, $450 million is set aside for the project in this bill.

However, the language on how the funds are to be used is included in the Water Commissions budget which is still being negotiated.

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