On March 22, 2022, attorney Jack Dwyer, the Executive Secretary of the Water Resource Districts Association, testified in front of the Water Topics Interim committee concerning bill number 2208 from last session. This bill failed and became a study for the interim. Mr. Dwyer titled his presentation, “SB 2208 and the Formation of the Water Drainage Committee – A Result of the Sargent County Drain 11 Dispute.” While you can view his slides under the Agenda of that meeting, https://www.ndlegis.gov/files/committees/67-2021/23_5111_02000presentation1510.pdf, the gist of it is that the WRDs saw 2208 as anti-drainage and anti-WRD bill which stemmed from some persistently complaining landowners in the assessment area. Established in 1917, the 41 mile long drain was no longer operating properly and needed some improvements which were studied in 2014 and 2015. In 2016, the WRD voted to move the improvements forward using the annual maintenance levy for financing.
Mr. Dwyer explained that opponents have framed this project as the Sargent County WRD board conducting backroom meetings and sliding this through strong landowner opposition without a vote and without consideration for landowner benefits. He said that the opposite is true. That the project was vetted extensively at the local level, that SCWRD has held nearly 100 public meetings with proper notice. He also noted delays and that engineering costs have suffered from inflation. I encourage you to view this portion of the meeting to see what is going on if drainage is a concern to you. Water Drainage committee next meets on Monday, April 11. As with any legislative committee, it is available to watch in real time or by clicking “Video” in the upper right of the North Dakota Legislature webpage. If more than a day old, click on “New Recordings” on the left.
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