Hoeven: Bureau of Reclamation Issues Record of Decision for Northwest Area Water Supply Project

Senator Has Been Pushing for Federal Approvals to Move Project Forward

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has signed the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Northwest Area Water Supply (NAWS) Project, selecting the preferred alternative which uses Lake Sakakawea as the primary water supply. Hoeven has been pressing the federal agencies to sign the ROD and advance the project.

NAWS will bring water to a ten county area of northwestern North Dakota, as far north as Sherwood, to Bottineau in the east, and Renville, Burke and Divide Counties in the west. The city of Minot in Ward County will also supplement its water from the Northwest Area Water Supply project.

“The Northwest Area Water Supply Project has been years in the making,” said Hoeven. “We’ve been pressing for federal approval to move this project forward. The Record of Decision marks the completion of the environmental review process and is an important milestone in completing the project. We’ve worked hard to advance NAWS to help bring safe and reliable drinking water to nearly a hundred thousand North Dakotans in a growing region of our state.”  

Last summer, Reclamation released its Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the NAWS project, including its preferred alternative for treating Missouri River water to prevent biota transfers and provide municipal drinking water to North Dakota communities. The EPA, however, asked Reclamation to make additional changes to their preferred alternative.

In October, Hoeven called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Reclamation to work with state and local leaders to agree on a water treatment plan to advance the project. As governor, Hoeven worked from 2001 to 2010 to meet legal challenges and secure state and federal funding for the project. Construction began in 2002 under the Hoeven Administration, and the system became operational during his term.

The Northwest Area Water Supply project will be funded with federal, state and local dollars provided by the communities that will use the water. Reclamation’s preferred alternative recognizes the need for the system to provide up to 26 million gallons of Missouri River water per day to nearly 100,000 residents of North Dakota. The system is designed to provide service through 2060.