Industrial Water Keeps Rates Down


“There is no doubt the revenue WAWSA receives from industrial water sales has benefited water customers in northwestern North Dakota,” says Jaret Wirtz, WAWSA Executive Director. 

The Western Area Water Supply Project (WAWSP) uses a Public-Private-Partnership business model to reduce domestic water rates.  Oil companies purchase water from WAWSA for the hydraulic fracturing process, as well as other drilling, completion, and well maintenance activities.  The industrial water revenue is utilized to pay back the loans used to build the drinking water infrastructure that is necessary to serve towns and rural areas across Burke, Divide, McKenzie, Mountrail, and Williams Counties.  The industrial income also helps keep domestic water rates lower than they would be if WAWSA did not sell water to industrial users.  

“WAWSA’s industrial water sales greatly reduce the economic burden on local residents and the State’s taxpayers to fund this public drinking water system,” says Mark Owan, WAWSA Board Chairman.

The revenue from WAWSA’s industrial water sales goes to pay off loans from the State of North Dakota to construct the project. The project’s business plan is unique because it sells the unused water capacity to the oil industry during the population growth period to pay for the public water project.

WAWSA provides temporary and permanent direct water pipeline connections for industrial use, as well as operating nine industrial water depots. There are currently no plans to increase the number of depots that WAWSA operates. 

A special Industrial Water edition of The Buzz newsletter will be published this year.