Supporters of a plan to bring Missouri River water to the Red River Valley say it’s time to move forward.
$18 million has been spent on studying the Red River Valley Water Supply Project. And the total cost could be close to $1.1 billion.
Grand Forks City Councilman Ken Vien is the chairman of the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District. He told the Legislature’s interim Water Topics Committee the hope is to have final plans drawn by the end of 2017, with construction to begin in 2018 and finish in 2024.
"You can fight a flood, but a drought is something we can't fight," Vien told the Committee. "We have to have a water source throughout eastern North Dakota and Central North Dakota. We can't wait 'til it gets here."
"This isn't just for the city of Fargo," said House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo). "This is for the whole eastern half of the state of North Dakota. We need to make sure we size properly, design properly, water-filtrate properly."
Vien told the committee a prolonged drought in the Valley could mean a $2 billion hit to the state’s economy.