CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story had the incorrect spelling of Duane DeKrey’s last name. The story has been updated to reflect the correct spelling.
NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — The Red River Valley Water Supply Project will sue farmland owners for eminent domain if they don’t sign easements before Friday.
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.
The Garrison Diversion Conservancy District and the Lake Agassiz Water Authority are sponsors.
“If we get into a 30-style drought which is predicted by meteorologists to happen by 2050 again, statistically, there will not be water in the eastern part of the state to supply the population that exists,” said Garrison Diversion Conservancy District General Manager Duane DeKrey.
The 167-line pipeline would be built on the land of many farmers, who are being offered $1,350 per acre. But DeKrey says about 10 percent of landowners are not accepting the offer.
“If landowners don’t aren’t happy with the dollar figure that you’re offering them for their property, then their recourse is to go to court and ask for more money,” DeKrey said.
“The 6- to 10-year project will take water from the Missouri River to the central and eastern North Dakota,” said DeKrey.
The project will send up to 74,000 gallons a minute and deliver water to the Cheyenne River near Cooperstown, North Dakota.
“We’ve been working with them for I think over a year, and you have to set a deadline at some point and so we’ve had negotiations up to this point and we finally reached a point where negotiations are not going anywhere so we said the deadline for July 8 from when we will start eminent domain proceedings,” DeKrey said.
DeKrey added the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District is ensuring all parties, especially contractors are ready for the project.
“Soil‘s firm that are giving classes to the contractors to make sure that we reclaim the land as best as it can be reclaimed. We have a crop damage policy that has no in date so as long as the landowner thinks that they’re having losses, those losses will be paid for. It’s probably a 6- to 10-year project once the project is in place and the land has been reclaimed they will be farming and grazing right over the top of the pipeline,” he said.
Eminent domain proceedings can take up to two years.
As soon as the pipe is installed, it’ll be returned as close to its original condition as it can be and landowners will be able to continue to use the land as they did before.
Part II, which will air Thursday, will include the landowners’ side.