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Western North Dakota water project to seek $120M

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Officials plan to ask the Legislature next year for $120 million in funding for the Western Area Water Supply Project, as demand grows for treated Missouri River water in the western North Dakota region that includes the booming oil patch.

The request likely will be for $90 million in grants and $30 million in loans, according to WAWS Authority Executive Director Jaret Wirtz. The money would pay for more transmission lines, water depots and other infrastructure.

State lawmakers in 2011 approved $150 million to get the project started. The Legislature in 2013 approved another $79 million, the Bismarck Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1DpiOJV ). Funding requests through 2021 likely will put the project cost at more than $460 million, according to Wirtz.

The project is initially expected to service about 48,000 people, but the estimate has grown to 160,000 people by 2035.

In related news, North Dakota getting $23M in federal heating aid.

“The numbers keep growing; that’s why the project keeps growing,” Wirtz said.

The water system is designed to serve five counties: Burke, Divide, McKenzie, Mountrail and Williams. The project will use an expanded water treatment plant in Williston and provide municipal and rural water to the Watford City, Ray, Tioga, Stanley, Wildrose and Crosby areas.

Officials in September started work on a $105 million project to double the capacity of the Williston water plant, which currently can serve about 30,000 people.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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