The Southwest Water Authority is urging the legislature to make water a priority

Thousands of western North Dakotans receive their water from the SWA and the Southwest Pipeline Project.

However, many are still without quality water.

Many people have signed up for water from the SWA and have been on a waiting list for it.

Due to the budget shortfall, they may have to wait longer.

“We need to expand the southwest pipeline project. We will not be able to serve them, which means they will need another source of water, which is generally groundwater or to put in a cistern and haul water, said Marry Massad, CEO of SWA.

The Southwest Pipeline Project requested 84 million for the upcoming biennium, now it’s hoping for just 17 million.

Massad says the lack of funding means they won’t be able to build on the project, which in turn, she says, would hurt economic development and quality of life.

“Our communities are growing and in need of more water and we cannot contractually obligate more water until we have more capacity,” she said.

House Bill 1020, a bill that will provide funding for the state water commission, passed the House of Appropriations today and will go to the house floor next. It will determine how much money will go to the southwest pipeline project.

SWA serves 56,000 North Dakotans and over 6,800 rural customers.