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Manitoba Premier wants changes in NAWS

By Dave Thompson

Bismarck, ND – Manitoba Premier Gary Doer says even though he would like to stop the Northwest Area Water Supply project, he believes some improvements have been made to help protect his province's water supply.

And Doer says if a few more safeguards can be put in place, he would probably drop his opposition to the project.

"NAWS" is designed to bring Missouri River water to Northwest North Dakota. But some of that water may drain into the Souris River.

At one time, Doer threatened to sue. And at this point, he says he would still like to stop the project.

"Having said that, we recognize that appropriations have been made. But we think that there are some improvements that still could be made. We take 100 percent of the risk. And we're trying to make sure that we can get it as close to 100-percent of dealing with that risk before the project proceeds."

Doer says he would like better at-source water treatment than what has been proposed, not only to assure that the water is good enough to drink, but to prevent biota transfer.

"And I know that it sounds like, 'If it's good enough to drink, it should be good enough to accept.' But there are some different kinds of treatments for biota than there are for drinking. And that's what we're trying to assure ourselves of. And there was some progress last summer. There have been some improvements made in the design. And for that, we're thankful. I think we're all committed to as clean a water as we can have on either side of the border."