ND Water History Book

North Dakota Water History Book

The North Dakota Water Education Foundation published North Dakota Water: A Century of Challenge. The details, chronologies and factual information needed to tell this story was complied through research, interviews, and utilization of existing materials. The cost of this publication is $5. Call 701-223-8332 to get your copy today!


The 12-chapter water history book will include the following components of North Dakota’s water history:

  • Missouri River/Pick Sloan
  • Garrison Diversion
  • Water Supply/Eastern North Dakota
  • Rural Water Systems
  • West River Diversion/Southwest Pipeline Project/Southwest Water Authority
  • Devils Lake
  • Red River of the North: Flooding/Protection
  • Souris River Flooding/Protection
  • Irrigation
  • Weather Modification
  • Water Management Projects/Water Resource Districts/Drain Boards/Water managers and Dam
  • Wetlands Issues and Conflicts Appendices, including a history timeline
  • State Engineers
  • Water Organizations: Water Resource Districts/Water Users Groups, State Water Commission

Personal Reflections

This is a story that is told partly through the personal recollections of those who have been involved in state water issues during this century. The North Dakota Water Education Foundation is a sponsor of Prairie Public Radio’s “More Precious Than Gold” which involved interviews with over 90 people connected with water in North Dakota. Prairie Public TV has provided the complete transcripts of those interviews. They provided helpful information to tell North Dakota’s water history. We also interviewed present and former state engineers and staff at the North Dakota State Water Commission for the State Engineer history portion of this water history book.


Supplementing interviews, researching the papers and records of individuals, organizations and agencies, and other historical accounts of North Dakota’s water issues. We also researched photo archives from state and federal agencies, newspapers and magazines, and private collections that were included in the book.


Materials for this project were donated to the State Archives at the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

A critical component of this project was to develop an Educator’s Guide to accompany the book. This guide included between two and three lessons per chapter and directly relates to the subject matter in the book. The lesson materials modeled after the national Project Water Education for Teachers (WET) program, which is recognized around the world for its excellence and effectiveness in water education in the classroom then become part of the North Dakota WET Program. 

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