With his budget-conscious campaign just completed and North Dakota's revenue shortages looming, Gov.-elect Doug Burgum should be facing a quandary in looking at the Red River Water Supply Project.
Taxpayers should, too.
Will our new governor hold true to budget concerns and help to halt this costly and unneeded project? There are many reasons to question it.
Like tax burden. The project will soak up $1 billion-likely bundles more-just as North Dakota will be pinching pennies to keep basic services.
It will pipe water from wells near Washburn, N.D., on the Missouri to the Red River Valley to guard against some possible future droughts there. Really? How about too much water there? And what about droughts here on the Missouri River? Who decides who gets water when things go dry in both valleys?
What about when the Red River is flooding? Who decides when to turn that Missouri spigot off? Will it be pumped eastward forever and 24/7, or just when needed to cover a "drought"?
Promoters say not much water will be moved-a "thimble" compared to the Missouri's flow. A thimble with 78 million gallons of water a day?
With growth in Fargo, that thimble likely will become a very big rain barrel. Whose hand is on the spigot?
Given that the Red River also flows along Minnesota, this becomes the first water project to deliver Missouri water for out-of-state residents. Is that fair?
Let's investigate other solutions for the valley, like conservation or closer sources (wells, other underground sources, Devils Lake and so on).
Just because a project can be built doesn't mean it should. This one shouldn't.