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Stutsman County joins Lake Agassiz Water Authority

Stutsman County has become an associate member of the Lake Agassiz Water Authority and may become a full member, according to Sen. Terry Wanzek, R-Jamestown.

The Garrison Diversion Conservancy District announced Tuesday Stutsman County and the city of Wahpeton had become associate or non-voting members of Lake Agassiz Water Authority.

Wanzek introduced a bill in the North Dakota Senate to give Stutsman County full membership on the Lake Agassiz Water Authority Board of Directors. The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee Friday.

"When Lake Agassiz was formed it was more the eastern counties," Wanzek said. "This expands it for more groups to be involved."

The Lake Agassiz Water Authority, along with the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District, is the driving force behind the Red River Valley Water Supply Project, which has a preliminary cost estimate of $1 billion. If constructed, the Red River Valley Water Supply Project would pipe Missouri River water to central and eastern North Dakota for municipal and industrial use.

Geneva Kaiser, manager of Stutsman Rural Water District, said the Rural Water District has reserved capacity on the planned Water Supply Project pipeline for industrial water at the Spiritwood Energy Park Association industrial park.

Kaiser said any membership dues charged by the Lake Agassiz Water Authority would likely be split between the Rural Water District and the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp., although no discussions on that have taken place.

Wanzek has also introduced a Senate bill authorizing the North Dakota Public Funding Authority to participate in financing the Red River Valley Water Supply Project.

Kaiser said there is no date set for construction of the project.

"It all depends on how much money there is for the project," she said. "It is a $1 billion project."

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