State Water Commission advances flood control efforts along Mouse River, Devils Lake Basin


Governor Jack Dalrymple reported yesterday that the North Dakota State Water Commission is ahead of schedule and under budget in building an East Devils Lake water outlet.

“The East Devils Lake outlet and our other lake management projects must continue to move forward in a timely fashion to alleviate flooding in the Devils Lake Basin and to protect downstream interests,” Dalrymple said.  “At the same time, we are working with local officials in Minot and Ward County to undertake as soon as possible a flood protection study which will help residents make important decisions about their damaged homes.

The State Water Commission, headed by Dalrymple, awarded today a contract to install underground piping that will discharge water from East Devils Lake to the downstream side of Tolna Coulee. The 96-inch, pump-flow pipeline will be capable of transferring between 350 cubic feet of water per second (cfs) from Devils Lake into the Sheyenne River.

The Water Commission has expedited the East Devils Lake outlet project and expects the pipeline installation to be completed before the winter. The Water Commission awarded the pipeline installation project to Kansas City, Mo.-based Garney Companies Inc. at a cost of $7.9 million.  The project was initially projected to cost about $27 million because the work was expected to continue through the winter.

The Commission also agreed to assist the Souris River Joint Water Resources Board in selecting an engineering firm that will conduct a floodway study and to help cover the costs of the study.  Dalrymple recommended that the state pay the lion’s share of costs for the study which will address flood protection options to safeguard Burlington, Minot and Velva from flood events of the magnitude experienced this year.

The Souris River Joint Water Resources Board is the lead agency in developing a flood control plan.

In other action, the Commission voted to provide an additional $10.5 million in state funding to raise levees on Devils Lake. During the 2009-2011 biennium, the state appropriated $20.8 million to enhance the lake’s levee system. Devils Lake has risen 32 feet and nearly quadrupled in size since the early 1990s.

“The actions taken today are important steps in providing long-term flood protection along the Mouse River in Ward County and in the Devils Lake Basin,” Dalrymple said.

Constructing an East Devils Lake outlet is part of a larger strategy to alleviate flooding in the Devils Lake Basin and to protect downstream interests. The state also is moving forward with plans to: build a water control structure at Tolna Coulee; expand the lake’s west-end outlet and construct a gravity flow outlet.  Plans are to construct a gravity-flow outlet consisting of a one-mile-long, 40-foot-wide channel connecting west Stump Lake to Tolna Coulee.

Source: Office of Governor Dalrymple