Hoeven Working to Advance Water Management Projects, Helped Secure McClusky Canal Water Contract for Central North Dakota

Senator Meets with Garrison Diversion, Reviews Oakes Test Area Title Transfer Proposal

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven this week met with the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District, where he outlined his efforts to support the organization’s ongoing water management efforts. Through his role on the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Committee, Hoeven is working to ensure the Bureau of Reclamation is a good partner for local water districts and helps advance water projects in the state, such as irrigation, flood control and water supply and treatment systems.

To this end, Hoeven pressed for approval of a water service contract for the McClusky Canal to provide a municipal, rural and industrial water supply for Burleigh, Sheridan, Wells, Foster, Kidder, McLean and Stutsman Counties. The senator helped arrange a meeting between Garrison Diversion officials and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Following this, the Bureau of Reclamation released a proposal to issue the contract, which the agency found will have no significant environmental impact during its assessment.

“Due to the impact on our economy and quality of life, water rights are a central issue for western states,” Hoeven said. “We continue working to ensure the Bureau of Reclamation helps advance local priorities, ensuring our farmers, ranchers and communities have access to clean and reliable water supplies. This includes making the best use of our infrastructure, such as the McClusky Canal and the Oakes Test Site, rather than letting the potential of these projects lie dormant.”

During this week’s meeting, Hoeven also reviewed a proposal to transfer the title for the Oakes Test Area, an irrigation research site, from the Bureau of Reclamation to Dickey-Sargent Irrigation District. The site was established at the recommendation of the International Joint Commission, but never operated at full capacity and the Bureau has since ceased funding for the project. The local irrigation district continues to operate the facility, but due to the federal approval process required to make modifications, the district faces extensive hurdles in adapting the infrastructure to meet local needs or bringing the project to its full potential. Hoeven is urging the Bureau of Reclamation to find common ground with the Garrison Diversion and forge a path forward on the title transfer, which would reduce costs to taxpayers and prevent the abandonment of this facility.