An environmental study on a pipeline that would bring Missouri River water to northwestern North Dakota recommends an alternative that would move the project forward.
The Northwest Area Water Project, or NAWS, is designed to bring water to a 10-county area, including Minot.
The latest environmental study recommends a $207 million project that would pre-treat the water before piping it to the Minot water treatment plant.
The Bureau of Reclamation released the initial environmental study findings opening a 45 day public comment period that will go through August.
The study addressed the entire project, including if NAWS was still needed, and found that using Missouri River water is still the most viable option.
(Tim Freije, ND State Water Commission, Water Development) "They considered all reasonable alternatives in this. They wanted to make it a whole, encompassing document. They found the best solution would be from the Missouri River with a level of treatment prior to going over the continental divide."
A federal judge had ordered the project to be put on hold in 2010 until the environmental study was completed, in order to address complaints by Manitoba over the transfer of aquatic species from the Missouri River to the Sours River basin, which extends into Canada.
(Tim Freije, ND State Water Commission, Water Development) "The work in the analysis shows that there is still a very strong need for the project and that the project can be designed to effectively and efficiently meet the need while also minimizing and mitigating any potential environmental impacts from the operation of the project."
A public hearing about NAWS will be held in Minot on July 23.