(KXNET) — A few bills came across the table on Friday at the state capitol relating to water crisis projects, management, and more.

The Red River Valley Water Supply Project headlined KX News due to controversies with easements, eminent domain, and lack of communication.

The project is designed to avoid a water supply crisis like the 1930s drought. In 1934, the Red River had zero flow for about five months in a row.

Now, we are seeing a senate bill that hopes to remove a lot of the surrounding issues.

“At this point in time, the way it’s written, it defines liability, primarily and direction towards the state as opposed to the Garrison [Diversion],” said State Senator Dale Patten, District 26.

Neutral testimonies were heard, which were mainly in concern with who would be responsible.

There is a risk management fund for the project, but it does not cover what landowners are stressing about.

“It raises important questions as to whether this would be an impermissible diversion of federal monies for alternative purposes. The other point I would make is that the risk management fund is not actually determined to deal with it. Currently, to deal with the next biennium, changing with the risk management fund is responsible for changes the underlying assumptions that the actuaries have used, so it really sets up the potential problem of the fund: not having enough funding for its potential exposures,” said Todd Anderson.

Garrison Diversion’s General Manager, Duane DeKrey, stood Friday on his summer argument, that all land will be restored to as close to normal conditions as possible, and that there will be little to no damage.

“For one thing, we’re not purchasing the land. It’s an underground utility. So, whenever we put that in their land, it’s all still available to them. So, what’s their land worth now, and what’s it worth after the pipeline goes through? It’s basically the same, and so, the 1350 an acre is basically an inconvenient cost, because they’re going to be able to use their land for whatever they were using it before,” said DeKrey.

Landowners still do not agree.

“Our township budget is very tight and with the amount of dirt that they’re going to have to remove to put the pipe in — in the amount of product that they have to bring back into to pack their pipe. It’s going to literally destroy the roads, and we haven’t heard anything about compensation for the Townships,” said one landowner.

DeKrey says to agree to disagree, the crop policy has no end date, meaning if in 10 years from the project ending, landowners claim their land is still not intact, he says you can still submit claims.

Who owns the project? Why is eminent domain an option? These questions and many more questions were swarming the room as Duane DeKrey was asked to return to the stand for a second time to clarify.

“We own the easements. It’s in statute. Garrison Diversion owns the project. It’s in conjunction with LAWA (Lake Agassiz Water Authority). We’ve been working on this for a couple of years. We held two public meetings. We had several people there, so I mean we have met with them. You have to set a time sometime to when you’re going to go to eminent domain. The pipeline is coming down in the state. The state is funding us, and we have to stay two years ahead of where the pipeline is going to be, because we have to have that easement when the pipeline gets there. So, I don’t think the state wants to give us $200-$300 million to build a pipeline, and then the pipeline stops at some owners while we spend two years trying to get an easement on it.” said DeKrey.

The committee seems to simply want more clarity in the language, which they plan to sort out within the next week.

The price of the project for landowner easements comes from the cost of land in 2009. DeKrey says this is so all landowners pay around the same amount.