August 1st, 2014 Is WAWS A Quarter-Billion Dollar Boondoggle? Last week I told you about how the Western Area Water Supply Authority, state-funded p

      Web Version   Preferences   Unsubscribe  
North Dakota Watchdog Network Logo

August 1st, 2014


Is WAWS A Quarter-Billion Dollar Boondoggle?


Last week I told you about how the Western Area Water Supply Authority, state-funded project, could be costing the residents of Williston more in the form of higher taxes and water rates by not reimbursing the City of Williston enough to offset the strain on the city’s infrastructure.

The demand on the City of Williston's water system has been predominately from WAWS's demand for water to sell to the oil industry.

From 2010 to 2013, the demand for water from the city's residents has increased 88% while the demand for industrial water has increased by nearly 900%!

The response that many people had via email replies to that news is summed up like this:

“That would be really silly if the state is funding a project that is ripping off local taxpayers in Williston, but why is the state competing with private North Dakota businesses and selling water to the oil companies in the first place? The oil companies can afford it, aren’t we (the taxpayers) subsidizing a socialist program that helps big oil?”

My answer to these sentiments is, yes, we the taxpayers are subsidizing a socialist project.

The legislature created this project as a means to fast track getting water to small towns and farms (a proper role for government) but since then, this project has ballooned into a quarter-billion dollar state-funded industry – much like the Bank of North Dakota and the State Mill and Elevator.

However, one major difference – when the State Bank and State Mills were created, it was at a time when private out-of-state corporations were ripping off North Dakotans. In the case of WAWS, North Dakota businesses and landowners have been providing water to the industry at market rates – when the industry has been more than willing to pay.

Do you support Obama-style Socialism IF it is North Dakota Republicans promoting it?

Imagine if the federal government decided it wanted to be part of the largest economic sector and that it would compete with private industry even though private industry was servicing the economic sector just fine?

You’d probably be upset and think President Obama was pushing big government and socialism onto the economy, right?

Well, in North Dakota, it is happening today – and it’s not Obama’s doing.

In North Dakota, Republicans dominate the legislature and every state-wide office, and spend a lot of their time railing against the socialist policies of President Obama.

But what if I told you that over the last few years, Republicans have quietly been building a state-financed and publicly-subsidized water industry to serve the oil industry?

– and, oh, by the way, it competes with private industry, and tried to get a law passed last session to make it illegal for private industry to exist in certain areas of the state!

- Plus, they even tried to impose a new tax on private water providers to help pay for it!!!

If this government program had been proposed by Democrats, it would never have gotten off the ground. But somehow it has snuck past the public’s radar.

Obviously state policy makers need to make sure that WAWS really is filling a public service need. They also need to make sure that it is not shortchanging its sources for water, and creating a burden on infrastructure itself.

Furthermore, the Republican super-majority needs to examine whether competing with private industry is something it wants to do.

There is nothing free-market or conservative about this project.

What do you think?

Reply and let us know!


-Dustin Gawrylow, Managing Director

North Dakota Watchdog Network

Paypal Button