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Published November 03, 2012, 08:53 PM

The Red River Valley water supply project may start taking more action

Grand Forks, ND (WDAY TV) -- The Environmental studies are done, permits are assigned, but we're not seeing any work being done on the Red River Valley Water Supply Project.

By: Melanie Orlins, WDAZ, WDAY

Grand Forks, ND (WDAY TV) -- The Environmental studies are done, permits are assigned, but we're not seeing any work being done on the Red River Valley Water Supply Project.

The project is now 12 years in the making, and advocates expected action as soon as approval came down, so what's the hold up?

It sounds odd, after years of severe flooding, that city leaders up and down the Red River would want to bring more water here, but it's the case.

Curt Kreun/state rep.: "It's so extremely important for the development of the eastern part of the state."

Through the Water Supply project, leaders would control when we get it. The water would come from the Missouri River, it'd be piped through Carrington and held in Lake Ashtabula until it's needed.

Kreun: "The Sheyenne river then would convey that water thru Fargo, thru Grand Forks all the way up thru Pembina --it isn't just Grand Forks and Fargo that need the water.

Al Grasser/Grand Forks City Engineer: "If we stay in a real dry phase I think the sense of urgency is going to ratchet up very very quickly."

Kreun and Grasser say there isn't a dyer need to get the project underway immediately, but if the Valley continues to have dry summers and the river waters continue to descend -- the need could become urgent.

Kreun: "We know that there will be a drought, we just don't know when."

So what's the hold up? Curt Kreun puts the blame on the Bureau of Reclamation and Corps of Engineers, also the fact it's political season.

Kreun: "We're fighting for rights of water that have already been determined that it's our right to utilize that water for the whole state."

Al Grasser says though there's no action right now, in recent years the state has been setting aside millions of dollars for this project.

Grasser: "The plans and specks are coming together."

Project advocates say a "no action" plan would cost the state billions of dollars in revenue.

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