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ND Water Commission

Change in water governance

May 3, 2021

The 2021 Legislature approved a change in the state's governance of water in North Dakota.

HB 1353 created a department of water resources. Up until now, water projects were the purview of the state water commission, chaired by the Governor. The commission employed a state engineer.

The change means an agency director would be hired by Gov. Doug Burgum, with the approval of the water commission.

Work continues on NAWS project

Jan 2, 2020

Work is progressing on the Northwest Area Water Supply Project.

That project will bring Missouri River Water to Minot and the Northwest.

State Water Commission Engineer Garland Erbele said designs are being developed for a retrofit of the pump station at Snake Creek, and to look at the condition of the raw water line from Snake Creek to Minot. And Erbele said the design for the new Max biota treatment plant is being finalized.

ND Water Commission

In the state Water Commission budget, there is a $75 million line of credit to build a water treatment plant for the Northwest Area Water Supply System.

NAWS will take water from Lake Sakakawea to Minot and other areas of northwestern North Dakota.

State Water Commission engineer Garland Erbele said the plant is to be built at Max.

"That plant will be owned by the (Federal) Bureau of Reclamation," Erbele said. "They will reimburse us for the construction costs, but we have to 'upfront' the money."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The state Water Commission has approved the request from Grand Forks for another $30 million to help pay for the city’s new water treatment plant.

The 2017 Legislature set aside the $30 million to be spent in the 2017-2019 biennium. The city had received $30 million in the 2015-2017 biennium.

After the approval, Grand Forks City Commissioner Ken Vien said he’s happy with the Commission’s action.

New water commission members meet for the first time

Aug 24, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum welcomed the seven new members of the state Water Commission to their first meeting.

Burgum replaced the previous seven appointees with new members who represent each of the identified seven watersheds in North Dakota.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Jack Dalrymple chaired his last state Water Commission meeting in Bismarck Friday (12-9).

And for Dalrymple, it was a time to reminisce about his first year as chairman.

Dalrymple took over as Governor after then Gov. John Hoeven was elected to the US Senate.  He said in that first year, two big water issues faced him. One was the rising Devils Lake – and the need to lower the lake level. At the time, the lake was high enough – it was threatening to naturally spill over into the Sheyenne River.

State Water Commission hires a new chief engineer

Apr 27, 2016

The state Water Commission has hired Garland Erbele of Pierre, South Dakota as the new state engineer.

Erbele is a native of Lehr, North Dakota. He worked for the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources for 35 years, and from 2003 to 2013 served as the agency’s chief engineer for the Water Rights Program. Since 2013, he has worked for Wenck Associates, an engineering and environmental consulting company.

Erbele replaces Todd Sando, who announced his retirement in March.

Todd Sando retiring from the State Water Commission

Mar 10, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The head of the state Water Commission is retiring.

State engineer Todd Sando says he plans to step down by the end of June.

Sando first started working with the Water Commission in 1985.

"It's been 31 years of exciting times," Sando told members of the Water Commission. "Water is very important to the state of North Dakota. And one of my passions has always been water."

Sando became State Engineer in 2010. And he says the last six years have been very demanding.

Tolna Dam - Not a Breach, But Is Being Watched

Mar 13, 2015

State and local officials are monitoring conditions at Tolna Dam in Nelson County. Bruce Englehardt is director of water development for the State Water Commission. He says a hole has opened in the concrete spillway of the dam putting it at risk of failure.

“…I’m not even sure how big the hole is because it’s underwater at this point. You can see the water – instead of flowing across the spillway and down the chute – it’s at like 90-degrees from the direction it should be going into the dam and going down.”

Souris Basin Study Gains Initial Funding

May 30, 2014

The state Water Commission has approved 300-thousand dollars to help fund a study of the Souris River Basin. Tim Fay is an engineer with the State Water Commission. He says after having a wake-up call with the 2011 floods, officials from the U-S and Canada agreed to review the hydrology and hydraulics of the region and whether any adjustments need to be made in the basin operating plans…