NDCC, Section 61-24.6 declares necessary the pursuit of a project "...that would supply and distribute water to the people of northwestern North Dakota through a pipeline transmission and delivery system..." NDCC 61-24.6 authorizes the DWR to construct.
DWR began construction on the Northwest Area Water Supply (NAWS) project in April 2002. The first four contracts involving 45 miles of pipeline from the Missouri River to Minot were completed in the spring of 2009. The project is currently serving Berthold, Kenmare, Burlington, West River Water District, Upper Souris Water District, Mohall, Sherwood, All Seasons Water District, and Minot (also serves North Prairie Water District and Minot Air Force Base). NAWS is getting interim water supply through a agreement with Minot.
In 2002, lawsuits were initiated, but various elements of project construction had been allowed to proceed by court order including most of the distribution system and nearly the entirety of the supply pipeline.
In August 2017, the District of Columbia District Court ruled on the case in favor of the United States Bureau of Reclamation and the State of North Dakota. Manitoba and Missouri both appealed the District Court’s ruling to the United States Appellate Court for the District of Columbia Circuit. Manitoba and the Bureau of Reclamation entered into settlement negotiations, after which Manitoba withdrew its appeal. In May 2019, the Circuit Court upheld the District Court’s Ruling. Missouri had until August 2019 to appeal the case to the Supreme Court but did not, thus ending nearly 17 years of litigation on the project.
For more information on Northwest Area Water Supply, please contact Tim Freije, P.E., NAWS/SWPP Section Chief at (701) 328-1050 or e-mail.