US Fish & Wildlife Service



Date of this Version



U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Great Plains Region


U.S. government work


For many years, residents of northwestern North Dakota have experienced water supply problems. Existing ground water sources are of poor quality and the Souris River is a marginal source from both a quality and quantity standpoint. To resolve these problems, the Northwest Area Water Supply project (Project) is being constructed. This Project is a bulk water supply system that will serve the municipal and rural water needs of the Project area (Figure 1). The planning, design and construction of the Project is a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the State of North Dakota. Reclamation provides technical and financial assistance to the State of North Dakota for the planning and development of municipal, rural water supply projects throughout the state. The source water for this bulk water supply system is Lake Sakakawea, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir impounded by the Garrison Dam on the Missouri River. The North Dakota State Engineer has issued a water permit for the Project with an authorized annual withdrawal of 15,000 acre feet. Water from Lake Sakakawea will be pumped 45 miles north to the city of Minot which will serve as a distribution point for city residents, as well as distributing water to other communities and rural water systems throughout the service area. Lake Sakakawea is located within the Missouri River basin while the majority of the communities and rural water systems to be served by the Project are located within the Hudson Bay basin. Figure 2 shows the Missouri River basin and the Hudson Bay basin, along with the location of the Project service area. The potential transfer of aquatic invasive species between drainage basins was a key environmental issue identified during the development of the Project and evaluated as part of previous environmental studies. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) evaluated different water treatment processes to reduce the risk of a biological invasion occurring as a result of constructing and operating the Project.