Three Affiliated Tribes chair says water project needs more money

New Town, North Dakota (AP) 11-07

The chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes says a project to bring drinking water from the Missouri River to homes and businesses on the Fort Berthold reservation needs more federal money.

Marcus Wells Jr. said the annual federal appropriation often is less than $1 million, which does not keep pace with construction cost inflation.

“What little money that has come to us under the Dakota Water Resources Act must often be diverted to emergency water intake projects due to the dangerous drought conditions in North Dakota,” he said.

Wells said more than 90 percent of reservation homes still are not hooked up to the Fort Berthold Rural Water Supply System.

“For individual tribal families or other reservation residents, digging an artesian well is often not feasible, and the water drawn from such wells is undrinkable,” Wells said. Many families have to haul in potable water, he said.