Red River Valley Water Supply Project Final Needs and Options Report Available

Media Contact: Patience Hurley, (701) 250-4242 ext 3107
Mark Andersen, (406) 247-7610

For Release: November 28, 2005

The Bureau of Reclamation is announcing the release of a final, comprehensive study that analyzes the water needs of the Red River Valley through the year 2050. The Final Report on Red River Valley Water Needs and Options proposes seven options to meet anticipated water shortages that would occur during a drought in the Red River Valley. The study area covers 13 eastern counties in North Dakota and the cities of Breckenridge, Moorhead, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota.

Study results indicate that the Red River Valley could have significant water shortages during a 1930's type drought due to the current dependence of water systems on surface water sources, such as the Red River. The Red River, the primary source of water for the cities of Fargo and Moorhead, had multiple months of zero flow during the 1930s.

Of the seven proposed options, three would use existing surface and groundwater sources in the Red River Basin in N.D. and Minn., including Lake of the Woods, while the other four would import water from the Missouri River. Alternatives relying on the Missouri River would include treatment plants that would reduce the risk of transferring non-native biota from the Missouri River basin to the Hudson Bay basin. Six options would supply sufficient water to meet predicted water shortages, and one option would replace all existing water sources with imported Missouri River water.

Preliminary cost estimates to construct the alternatives range from $430 million to $2.52 billion, and include features that would supply bulk water for municipal, rural, and industrial use to the Red River Valley service area.

The report was prepared in accordance with the Dakota Water Resources Act of 2000. The Final Report on Red River Valley Water Needs and Options is available for download from

Additionally, this report serves as the technical source document for the alternatives being analyzed in a draft environmental impact statement. The draft environmental impact statement will evaluate the effects of the proposed options on the human and natural environment. When released, it will have a sixty-day public review period. For more information on the environmental impact statement, go to For additional information or to request a hard copy, please contact Patience Hurley, Reclamation Public Involvement Specialist, at 701.250.4242 or

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