Western Area Water Supply Project Update | VideoEvan Kruegel | 8/1/2012
"This will eventually serve the communities of Ray, Stanley, Tioga, Crosby, Wildrose, Fortuna, Ambrose. All those communities will receive water once we get this pipeline all the way to Ray,” said Executive Director Jaret Wirtz.
The $110 million project was approved by the state legislature as a way to utilize the large water treatment plant in Williston, which pulls water from the Missouri River.
"In the long run, it`s cheaper to put in these transmission lines to serve all these communities both North and South of the river, rather than sticking money into these smaller treatment plants to feed these communities,” said Wirtz.
Smaller towns around western North Dakota can’t just rely on the rainfall, so the seven million gallons of water that the pipeline will transport every single day should significantly impact those communities. But the need for the water goes well beyond the domestic increase in water consumption.
"There’s also the industrial need out there for fracking. Oil companies are coming to us looking for water, and that’s part of the thing that`s paying the state back is to sell industrial water to the oil companies to pay off the loans to do this project,” said Wirtz.
By utilizing industrial water sales to pay for infrastructure costs, the Western Area Water Supply Project can benefit thousands of people, without costing taxpayers a dime. The pipeline from Williston to Ray will be complete by the end of the year.
Around 15 miles of pipeline running south from Williston to Watford City have been completed, and that project should be finished by the end of the year as well. Rural residents in Williams and McKenzie Counties will see the benefits of the pipeline by 2013 or 2014, as the system expands.