Through the statewide Municipal, Rural and Industrial (MR&I) water supply program, Garrison Diversion helps North Dakota communities bring a clean, reliable supply of water to their residents, farms, schools, hospitals and industries.
Reliable and high quality water can mean the difference between success and failure for small towns and family farms. Garrison Diversion works to ensure North Dakotans have access to reliable and high quality water. Garrison Diversion is the fiscal agent and, along with the State Water Commission, is responsible for administering the state MR&I Program. This program has $400 million authorized in federal funding to help water systems deliver quality water to homes, businesses and farms across North Dakota.
The beginning of the MR&I Program
In the 1986 Garrison Diversion Unit Reformulation Act, the federal government authorized a change in the Garrison Diversion Unit project that gave responsibility for delivering water to North Dakota cities, towns, rural communities and growing industrial users. The 1986 Reformulation Act authorized $200 million for the MR&I Program. An additional $200 million was authorized in the Dakota Water Resources Act of 2000 to help meet statewide water needs.
Dozens of municipal and rural water systems have received funding through the MR&I Program. To date, over $339 million has been awarded for system expansions and improvements. Systems who received funding include, among others, the Southwest Pipeline Project, Southeast Water Users District, All Seasons Rural Water, South Central Regional Water District, Ramsey County Rural Water and the Northwest Area Water Supply. Future federal funding will bring reliable, high quality and affordable water to more areas of the state.
Part of the MR&I program is the Southwest Pipeline, which is a regional system that brings a clean, reliable source of water from Lake Sakakawea to areas of arid southwestern North Dakota. Dickinson was among the first municipalities to benefit from Southwest Pipeline. Since then, a number of other communities in southwest North Dakota have received water. The benefit to municipal areas is immeasurable.
Northwest Area Water Supply
The Northwest Area Water Supply project will supply high quality, reliable water to the arid west-central section of North Dakota. Water from Lake Sakakawea will be delivered as far north as Sherwood and to Bottineau in the east. The City of Minot will also get its water from the Northwest Area Water Supply.
Tribal MR&I Program
Spirit Lake, Fort Berthold, Turtle Mountain and Standing Rock Indian Reservations are faced with the same shortfalls in water quantity and quality as the rest of North Dakota. The reservations receive Garrison Diversion Unit grant money through the tribal MR&I program to develop and improve water delivery to their residents and businesses.
Garrison Diversion, with the aid of the Indian Nations of North Dakota, passed the Dakota Water Resources Act of 2000. This legislation included, in addition to the $200 million in state MR&I authorization, $200 million in federal authorization to meet the needs of the four Indian Reservations in North Dakota. This funding will help protect the health and environment of North Dakota’s Indian Nations.
Each reservation in the state has placed priorities on delivering and treating water for their citizens. Efforts will be made by Garrison Diversion Conservancy District to continue seeking funding to meet the immediate and long-term needs, both on and off North Dakota reservations.
Water Supply Assistance Grant Program
The Water Assistance Grant Program was approved by the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District in 2021. The program will provide funding assistance to offset the costs of new customer hookups to a rural water system or district. The grant program will also aid water systems or districts with extraordinary OM&R projects that will impact the delivery of water to users, introduce health and safety issues, or bring potential harm to other infrastructure if not repaired.