May 15, 2013

State invests $119 million in water for Bakken Region

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

The Western Area Water Supply Project (WAWSP), which is a public drinking water project that is projected to serve 100,000 people in all or parts of Burke, Divide, McKenzie, Mountrail and Williams counties within the next 20 years, will be receiving $40 million as part of House Bill (HB) 1020 that has been signed by Gov. Jack Dalrymple. HB 1020, which is the State Water Commission budget, will fund important water projects across the state.
The $40 million appropriation has an emergency clause for (WAWSP) with more than half of that funding going toward improving and expanding the Williston Regional Water Treatment Plant (WTP), which is critical to the WAWSP’s progress.
HB 1020 also includes an additional $79 million for the Western Area Water Supply Authority (WAWSA) to expand its pipeline system to serve the area’s growing population, as well as rural residents.
“We thank Gov. Dalrymple and the Legislature for approving WAWSA’s funding requests,” says Jaret Wirtz, executive director of the WAWSA. “The expansion of the Williston Regional Water Treatment Plant is absolutely crucial to the project’s success. We’re pleased that funding is in place to continue the progress on this amazing drinking water project.”
The Williston Regional WTP draws water from the Missouri River, treats it, and then sends it through miles of pipeline to Williston residents and regional WAWSA customers.
So far, WAWSA water from the Williston Regional WTP is being delivered to Watford City residents, who have been very pleased with the high quality of the water. Later this month, the R&T System which serves Ray, Tioga, and Stanley with extended pipelines to Wildrose and Crosby, will begin augmenting its water supply with service from the Williston Regional WTP.
Currently, the WTP is under construction to increase its capacity of 10 million gallons per day (MGD) to 14 MGD with funding that was previously provided to WAWSA. This summer, an additional Williston water treatment plant upgrade will begin with the goal of increasing the capacity from 14 MGD to 21 MGD to meet the need for the near-term population projections within the WAWSA service territory.
“The city of Williston is permitted to use 36 million gallons a day, so we have a lot of capacity to utilize, but we need to expand our plant capacity to do that,” explains Monte Meiers, the Williston director of Public Works/Engineering. “Last year, we experienced close to our maximum day usage with the hot temperatures and drier conditions.”
The water treatment plant expansion to 21 MGD is expected to be completed by 2015.
The $14 million of emergency funding that is not going toward the water treatment plant expansion will fund the construction of the Williston bypass transmission line later this summer. Seven miles of 36- and 30-inch pipe will run from the Williston Regional WTP along the west side of Williston, to the five million gallon Northwest Williston Reservoir. A new pump station and reservoir will also be built to benefit the rural areas west of Williston.  
For more information about the WAWSP, check out