Governor Jack Dalrymple said the state will begin operating today the west-end outlet at Devils Lake.
The North Dakota State Water Commission began discharging 150 cubic feet of water per second (cfs), on Thursday. State officials said water discharges from the outlet will not be increased until the Sheyenne River is capable of transferring additional water downstream. The outlet is currently capable of discharging water in the amount of 250 cfs.
“Moving water off Devils Lake is a step in the right direction,” Dalrymple said. “We want to work with all residents in the Devils Lake Basin to move forward on the state’s larger strategy which will lower the lake’s level over the long term.”
State officials are moving forward with plans to build a second water outlet at East Devils Lake capable of transferring water at a rate of 350 cfs. The East Devils Lake outlet is part of a larger strategy to alleviate flooding in the Devils Lake Basin and to protect downstream interests.
In addition to building an East Devils Lake outlet, the state is moving forward with plans to build a water control structure at Tolna Coulee. The control structure will not hold back the lake’s natural flow, but only serve to prevent a catastrophic overflow. The state also plans to expand the lake’s west-end outlet to increase its water discharge capacity from 250 cfs to 350 cfs.
State Engineer Todd Sando said the location of the East Devils Lake outlet was selected after comprehensive evaluation of all options. The east-end outlet plan offers the quickest and most efficient way to move additional water off the lake. State officials said plans to build an east-end outlet in any other location would likely be delayed by federal regulation, international treaties and litigation.
Source: office of Governor Dalrymple