(May 24, 2018) U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke devoted time Wednesday to touring Garrison Diversion Unit (GDU) facilities in central North Dakota. Secretary Zinke arrived in Bismarck this week to speak at the Williston Basin Petroleum Council.
“We are honored Secretary Zinke made time to visit the Garrison Diversion Unit facilities to learn more about how our programs benefit North Dakota,” says Duane DeKrey, Garrison Diversion Conservancy District (Garrison Diversion) General Manager.
During the tour, Secretary Zinke made stops at the Snake Creek Pumping Plant, McClusky Canal, and the McClusky Canal Mile Marker 7.5 Irrigation Project. The McClusky Canal is a major feature of the GDU Principal Supply Works that delivers water for purposes such as irrigation, recreation, fish and wildlife, wildlife mitigation areas, and water quality improvements. The Bureau of Reclamation owns the Snake Creek Pumping Plant and the McClusky Canal. Garrison Diversion assists with the operations and maintenance of both facilities.
Secretary Zinke’s visit with Garrison Diversion is the second meeting in less than a year. In October, Garrison Diversion and the Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA) representatives traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with Secretary Zinke and Congressman Kevin Cramer about the Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP). The group discussed the drought control project that will deliver a supplemental water supply to central and eastern North Dakota. The supplemental water will be utilized for domestic needs and to promote industrial development for nearly 50 percent of the state. The RRVWSP was briefly discussed again during Secretary Zinke’s visit.
The RRVWSP includes 35 communities and water systems that have provided initial commitment to the project that would deliver a supplemental water supply from the Missouri River to the Sheyenne River using a buried pipeline.
The tour was hosted by the Bureau of Reclamation Dakotas Area Office. Governor Burgum and Lt. Governor Brent Sanford also participated in the tour as well as staff and board officers from Garrison Diversion, ND Delegation representatives, State Engineer Garland Erbele and State Water Commission staff, several legislators, and representatives from the RRVWSP and Northwest Area Water Supply Project (NAWS).