Each of North Dakota’s State Water Commissioners is hosting their basin meetings this July to hear what occupants have to offer for discussion. The hot topic has been changing the magnitudes of state cost share. Rural water advocates were lined up to speak to Commissioner April Walker but was not in attendance. Subbed in was Director of the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Secretary to the Commissioners is Andrea Travnicek (pronounced Travineck) who read a short statement from the intended hostess. Then DWR staff listened to the testimonies which went on for more than 90 minutes. Having spoken with a DWR economist, I understood that there is a movement afoot to make all cost share 65% to simplify the calculations so that the state can plan better going forward. There are roughly 15 different levels for different entities from cities to assessment drain projects to rural water and so on.
Neil Breidenbach, who is the director of East Central Rural Water (includes Traill and Grand Forks counties), got my attention when he mentioned that the city of Hatton, for instance, is on rural water and that they have run out of water at least a few times. This leaves residents and the nursing home out of water, as well as farmers who cannot then spray their crops, sometimes for an entire weekend. He testified that his system water usage jumps by 225% when producers are spraying. This is a call to advocate for keeping rural systems at current cost share levels which I believe to be 75%. Testifiers from around the state said a reduction in the cost share would increase user fees by 33% to 43 % (at least to the best of my memory). Please mention to your legislators, State Water Commissioners, and if possible, the Governor and Lt. Governor. This is seen by many as an economic development issue and our Executive branch is usually a champion for that. Also, we have until August 15, 2022, until the DWR closes the public comment period. Use this email address: email@example.com
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #21
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Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #20
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