Another NAWS delay

Another judge’s decision, another delay in the construction of the Northwest Area Water Supply project.

U.S. District Judge?Rosemary Collyer in Washington, D.C., issued a decision this past week that will halt $10 million in construction of about 35 miles of pipeline in 2013. The construction would have connected Lansford, Westhope and part of the All Seasons Rural Water Users District to NAWS. Collyer said the construction will have to wait until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed and approved, a process that could take until sometime next year.

Meanwhile, communities such as Westhope, Newburg and Maxbass will have to wait for the additional pipeline to be built, meaning they will continue to have worries about maintaining adequate and safe municipal water supplies. The pipeline proposed to be built this year would have augmented existing NAWS service. Minot has been providing its aquifer water to supplement NAWS since the project has been held up in court by lawsuits from the state of Missouri and the Canadian province of Manitoba, but the city has limits on how much water it can provide to other users.

The latest disappointing delay is another in a long line of frustrations involving NAWS, which is critical to northwest North Dakota cities that need reliable and safe water supplies. Waiting a year or longer will take its toll on some area towns, who have already been waiting years for water from the NAWS?project.