The North Dakota State Water Commission and the Office of the State Engineer have been publishing agency Biennial Reports since 1904. These reports highlight key events, accomplishments, and other pertinent activities of the agencies during each biennium.
The primary purpose of the Strategic Plan is to clearly document agency direction and expectations we have set for ourselves through our strategic planning timeframe. Through the planning process, we have reevaluated our agency’s goals to ensure that we are achieving the standards expected by the people of North Dakota. In addition, we have laid out objectives for many of our key projects and programs to help us more effectively meet our goals. More specifically, we have defined tasks and actions that our agency needs to take in order to achieve desired outcomes.
Alternative Sources Of Funding For Flood Related, General Management & Water Supply
The Alternative Sources of Funding Brochure contains information about a variety of funding programs offered by various entities for flood-related, general water management, and water supply projects. This document is intended as a resource for local sponsors whose projects do not qualify for funding from the North Dakota State Water Commission, or for those seeking additional funding partners.
County Ground Water Studies
The County Ground Water Studies program provides a general inventory of the state's ground water resources. These studies identify the location and extent of major aquifers, hydraulic properties, water chemistry, estimated well yields, and the occurrence and movement of ground water - including sources of recharge and discharge. The county studies were prepared in three parts: Part I describes geology; Part II provides ground water basic data, which includes lithologic logs of test holes and wells, water levels in observation wells, and water chemistry analyses; and Part III describes the general hydrogeology. County Ground Water Studies are available for all counties in North Dakota.
North Dakota Ground Water Studies
The North Dakota Ground Water Studies is a collection of over 100 ground water studies from areas all over North Dakota, dating back to 1946, and continuing until the present day. Most were undertaken at the request of cities and rural water systems to address some water supply or water quality issue. Many, especially the earlier reports, were written by or in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey.
International Souris River Board Reports
In order to ensure a more ecosystem-based approach to transboundary water issues, and to achieve operational efficiencies in the conduct of International Joint Commission (IJC) responsibilities, the IJC has combined the ongoing responsibilities of the International Souris River Board of Control and the Souris River aspects of the International Souris-Red Rivers Engineering Board mandates, into the International Souris River Board (ISRB). The ISRB operates under a Directive from the IJC. It assists the IJC in preventing and resolving disputes relating to the transboundary waters of the Souris River basin.
North Dakota’s State Engineer serves as Co-Chair of the ISRB along with a counterpart from Canada.
Current and past ISRB Reports
The North Dakota State Engineer and the North Dakota State Geologist were instructed by the (1991-1992) 52nd State Legislative Assembly to conduct site-suitability reviews of the solid waste Landfill Studies in the State of North Dakota. The purpose of this program was to evaluate site suitability of each landfill for disposal of solid waste based on geologic and hydrologic characteristics.
North Dakota Water Articles
The State Water Commission contributes a three-page section of North Dakota Water Articles to a magazine titled North Dakota Water, published by the North Dakota Water Education Foundation. The Commission's pages are designed to inform readers about agency projects and programs, as well as local, state, and national water management issues. The magazine is published monthly, excluding February and August.
Sovereign Land Management Plan
North Dakota’s sovereign lands are those areas, including beds and islands, lying within the ordinary high watermark of navigable lakes and streams. The State of North Dakota plays an important role in the management of sovereign land through the Office of the State Engineer, who is responsible for administering the state’s non-mineral interests in North Dakota’s sovereign land.
Ordinary High Water Mark Delineation Guidelines
A 2005 Attorney General Opinion advised the State Engineer to develop a comprehensive sovereign land management plan. One product of the resulting comprehensive planning process was the determination that the state needed Ordinary High Water Mark Delineation Guidelines. These guidelines are intended to define a consistent and technically defensible approach for delineating the ordinary high water mark in both riverine and lake settings in North Dakota. These guidelines were prepared by the Office of the State Engineer with assistance from Houston Engineering, Inc.
Water Resource Investigations
Water Resource Investigations comprise a group of special studies outside of the scope of the North Dakota County Ground Water Studies and the North Dakota Ground Water Studies. Topics include artificial recharge, soil hydraulic properties, and water chemistry.
Preliminary Engineering Reports
Preliminary Engineering Reports which include dam, flood control, drain, irrigation, and other surface water-related studies, for specific locations. The reports were developed by State Water Commission staff in order to provide information to agency and other entities in North Dakota, such as alternatives analysis, associated costs, and to assist in making water resource-related decisions. Older reports completed in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s are often still relevant because these projects and locations may be the subject of future studies.
The Current is a means of providing the latest agency-specific information concerning water development, regulatory and appropriation efforts, water education, policy changes, Commission meeting highlights, and much more. The Current newsletter will be produced on a quarterly basis.
North Dakota Water Forum Video
The North Dakota State Water Commission hosts regular Water Forums from various individuals on various water resource-related topics. These presentations are recorded, and the video is available to the public.
In addition to the publications listed above, the State Water Commission and Office of the State Engineer produce a wide variety of materials of interest to the public.
Facts About North Dakota Fracking & Water Use
With the growth of the oil boom in recent years, and the development of water dependent technologies that allow the capture of oil that was previously inaccessible, the public has expressed interest about how oil development may be affecting the availability of North Dakota’s water resources.
Facts About North Dakota Fracking & Water Use provides and overview of these issues and what they mean for North Dakota.
Surface Water Management In The Little Missouri River Scenic River Basin
In March of 2017, while evaluating temporary water permits for points of diversion in the Little Missouri River Basin, a question of consideration of N.D.C.C. §61-29-06 was raised. Upon consideration of the express prohibition of industrial diversions of water within the basin, all applications for water permits were placed on hold. Further enquiries indicated that provisions of the statute had never, from the time of passage of the law, reached or been applied in the permitting of water, which is governed under provisions of N.D.C.C. ch. 61-04, and Article 89-03 of North Dakota Administrative Code. Reasons for the disconnect are complex, speculative, and beyond the purpose of this report.
Telemetry For Monitoring Oil-Field Water Use
Beginning in 2011, at the request of Governor Dalrymple, the staff of the Water Appropriation Division conducted a pilot study to evaluate the feasibility of using telemetry to monitor real-time or frequent-time water pumping data from water depots.
Assessment Of Potential Use Of Telemetry For Monitoring Oil-Field Water Use is a brief executive summary that provides a synopsis of the conclusions of the study, and recommendations for future action.
Flowing Wells Brochures
Many stockmen, domestic users, municipalities, and industrial users depend on the Fox Hills-Hell Creek aquifer for their water supply. The aquifer is an artesian flowing aquifer that allows wells in low-lying areas to flow. However, the pressure heads are declining at a rate of approximately one foot per year. The purpose of these brochures is to provide information, which will help in the conservation of water in the Fox Hills-Hell Creek aquifer and thereby extend the life of the flowing wells completed in the aquifer.Flowing Well Pressure Changes in Billings, Golden Valley and Slope Counties, Knife River Basin, McKenzie County.
A Reference Guide To ND Waters
A Reference Guide to ND Waters provides general information about water resources in North Dakota. It is presented on a statewide basis, as well as addressing the five major hydrologic basins that comprise the state. The information is related to: the properties of water, watershed concepts, surface water, ground water, atmospheric water, water use, water words, and water manager descriptions.
ND's Water Resources Map
ND's Water Resources Map is a 22 x 34 inch poster/map completed in 2015, which highlights the geography of the state's waters and several water development efforts.
Office of the State Engineer - A Tour
In 2005, the Office of the State Engineer marked its 100-year anniversary. This 10-page illustrated article details the history of the Office of the State Engineer, since it was officially established in 1905.
Practitioner's Field Guide
Practitioner's Field Guide is a 12-page report titled: "A Practitioner's Field Guide to Guessing in the Dark: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Uncertainty," by James T. Fay, P.E. This publication discusses the uncertainties of the practice of hydrology and how to deal with those uncertainties.
Today's Missouri River
Today's Missouri River is a full-color publication that provides general information on the Missouri River, particularly the North Dakota portion of the river. It discusses the benefits of the river, and summarizes some of the most pressing issues of the river system.
Water Theft and Unauthorized Water Sales Brochure
The increasing need for water to serve industry has also increased the temptation to take or sell water from locations where it is readily available. However, the taking or selling of water for industrial use without a permit is illegal in North Dakota.
Temporary Water Use Permit Brochure
A brochure explaining what a temporary permit is, when it is needed, and how to apply for one, is now available.
Sovereign Lands Brochure
This brochure addresses frequently asked questions about Sovereign Lands. North Dakota’s Sovereign Lands are those areas, including the beds and islands, lying within the ordinary high watermark of navigable lakes and streams. Sovereign Lands are publically-owned lands that are managed for the benefit of the citizens of the state.
A Comparison Of Historic River Crests With 2011 Flood Events
The purpose of this map is to provide a glimpse of the severity of the 2011 flood events in various river systems throughout the state.
Closed Basin & Lake Flooding
Closed Basin & Lake Flooding has been developed to address a unique issue to some North Dakotans. The publication is intended to educate the public about what closed basins are and flooding risks that can be associated with them. Topics that it covers include; the challenges to managing closed basin flooding, understanding risks, and ground/surface water exchange. It also contains information regarding NFIP and closed basin flooding.
Floodplain Management Quick Guide In North Dakota
This Quick Guide will help you understand more about why and how communities in the State of North Dakota manage floodplains to protect people and property. North Dakota’s floodplain management programs have been active since 1981. Floodprone communities adopt ordinances that detail the rules and requirements of developing in the floodplain. In case of conflict, that ordinance and not this publication, must be followed. If you have questions, be sure to talk to your local planning or permitting office.