Steady Progress Reported on RRVWSP Funding Requirements

Posted: Sep 30 2019
Garrison Diversion Conservancy District (Garrison Diversion) and Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA), the cosponsors of the Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP), are working diligently to meet the requirements outlined in the State Water Commission Budget (SB2020). So far, the RRVWSP has achieved nearly all the requirements of SB2020.

Alternative Selection - Complete
The RRVWSP alternative selection requirement is complete. The project’s design includes a transmission pipeline that will begin at the Missouri River and extend approximately 167 miles east to the Sheyenne River.
 
Water Supply Needs – Complete
To determine the RRVWSP demand projections, Garrison Diversion and LAWA secured water nomination agreements from water users in central and eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. Over 100 meetings held with representatives from prospective municipalities and rural water districts resulted in 35 users in central and eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota signing nomination agreements totaling 165 cfs.  Garrison Diversion and the prospective end users considered population projections, as well as potential domestic and industrial water needs, as of the year 2075.
 
Projected Project Costs – Complete
The RRVWSP is estimated to cost a total of $1.19 billion. 
 
Easement Acquisitions – Complete
Garrison Diversion has secured 100% of the easements for Phase 1 construction which includes trenchless crossings. Easements or options have been secured on 99% of needed properties for Phase 2 construction, which is the initial 28-mile pipeline segment to be constructed. Overall, approximately 50% of easement options are secured on the entire pipeline corridor.
Garrison Diversion is in the process of obtaining the remaining easements and options for the entire pipeline route.
 
Environmental Regulation Compliance – In Progress
Garrison Diversion and LAWA are working with the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality on regulatory compliance to include an NDPDES permit.  Project leadership has also met with officials from Manitoba.
 
Acquisition of State & Federal Permits – Complete
            State and federal permits have been secured to move the project forward. On September 7, 2018, Garrison Diversion obtained coverage from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under Nationwide Permit 12 for an intake on the Missouri River. The State Water Commission provided a Water Appropriations Permit on April 18, 2019 and the Sovereign Lands Permit in June 2019. 
 
 
Secure Water Source – Complete
            Garrison Diversion and LAWA have secured a Nationwide 12 Permit for the RRVWSP to install a conventional intake on the Missouri River. “Garrison Diversion is also requesting access to water from McCluskey Canal as an additional option. The Bureau of Reclamation has approved up to 20 cfs and Garrison Diversion is working to gain access to an additional 145 cfs for the Project,” says Kip Kovar, Deputy Program Manager for RRVWSP Engineering. 
 
Prioritized Phase 1 Construction Features – Complete
Project engineers have completed the final design for the intake wetwell, trenchless crossings, and discharge structure.

Funding Options Recommended – Complete
A RRVWSP funding model has been developed in partnership with State and local users of the RRVWSP. The following funding options have been thoroughly analyzed by the project team: capital financing, operational and renewal costs, cost-share scenarios, user cost allocation, and system financial impacts analysis.
SB2020 includes $30 million for the RRVWSP and a cost share requirement of 75% state and 25% local, which many users will find unaffordable. “Ensuring the project is affordable for the end users is of the utmost importance.  If it’s not affordable to our users, they won’t be able to participate. In order for this project to be successful, our users need need long-term, low-interest loans and an affordable cost-share,” says Merri Mooridian, Deputy Program Manager of RRVWSP Administration.

 “We are hoping a loan with a 40-year term at two percent interest will be approved during the next legislative session. In addition, we are also asking the State of North Dakota to fund the State share of the Project over a 10-year period to significantly reduce risks and financial impacts,” says Mooridian.

Litigation Review – No Litigation
SB2020 requires the State Water Commission review any appeals or lawsuits related to the RRVWSP, prior to disbursing state funds for the Project. “There is no litigation currently for the Red River Valley Water Supply, so we have not had anything to bring before the State Water Commission for review,” says Duane DeKrey, Garrison Diversion General Manager.
 
Phase 1 Construction Approval – In Progress
The design of Phase 1 construction features is being completed. North Dakota’s State Engineer, Garland Erbele, and the State Water Commission need to certify that all sections in SB2020 Subsection 1 are completed. Once certification is completed, the Budget Section must approve the certification before $13 million in carryover grant funds from the 2017-2019 budget for the RRVWSP can be released.
 
Quarterly Progress Reports to Water Topics Committee – Ongoing
Members of the RRVWSP team have provided quarterly progress reports to the Water Topics Overview Committee, as required by SB2020.  The most recent update was provided on August 1, 2019. The project team will continue to provide quarterly updates on an ongoing basis.  
 
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