Reclamation signs Northwest Area Water Supply Project Record of Decision

Media Contact: Patience Hurley, (701) 221-1204
Michael Odle, (406) 247-7609

For Release: January 16, 2009

The Bureau of Reclamation today signed a Record of Decision selecting the preferred alternative proposed for the Northwest Area Water Supply Project. This project will deliver a bulk water supply to meet the municipal and rural water needs of 10 northwest North Dakota counties.

The Record of Decision was signed by Reclamation's Great Plains Regional Director Michael J. Ryan, and implements the preferred alternative identified in the Northwest Area Water Supply Project Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Water Treatment.

"This decision marks another step in our efforts to bring reliable, quality water to northwest North Dakota," said Ryan.

The selected alternative, which was evaluated in the EIS, includes a two-stage disinfection process within the Missouri River basin before the water is pumped through a buried pipeline to the water treatment plant in Minot, N.D.

Water for the Northwest Area Water Supply Project will come from Lake Sakakawea, within the Missouri River basin, and will serve communities such as Minot, in the Hudson Bay basin. Reclamation evaluated water treatment alternatives which reduce the risk of project operations inadvertently transferring invasive species into the Hudson Bay basin.

"It has been a long and comprehensive process," said Dennis Breitzman, Reclamation's Dakotas Area Manager. "This is an exciting culmination of local, state and federal entities partnering together to manage, develop and deliver water."

The signing of the Record of Decision completes the requirements for the National Environmental Policy Act. It also fulfills Reclamation's obligation under a court order related to an ongoing lawsuit filed in the United States District Court. The lawsuit was filed by the Province of Manitoba challenging previous environmental studies done on the NAWS project.

The final EIS was released in December 2008 and is available for download at

For additional information please contact Patience Hurley, Bureau of Reclamation, at 701.221.1204 or

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

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