Private Water Sellers Ask State To Stop Competing For Business

A Williston man says a state-backed water project is violating state law in competing with his water sales business.
Steven Mortenson appeared before the State Water Commission today.

He says the Western Area Water Supply project is infringing on private individuals and companies that sell water to the oil industry.

WAWS was established by the legislature to provide drinking water to western North Dakota and set up a system of water sales depots to help offset the cost to the state.
Mortenson has long argued against the idea, saying it pits the state against already-established businesses.

He says in one recent case, WAWS installed a sales depot less than a mile from his existing depot and undercut his pricing, costing him over one million dollars in lost sales.

(Steve Mortenson, Williston) “I would say that the state wants private business to expand, to spend capital, to develop North Dakota. How are we supposed to do that in this situation?”

Mortenson says he was encouraged by the reception he received at today’s meeting – and is hoping Water Commission members will help find ways for WAWS to work alongside private water providers.

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