January 13th, 2016 The WAWS Bailout BeginsResidential and domestic water users are already being asked to pay more despite the fact WAWS was intende

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January 13th, 2016

The WAWS Bailout Begins

Residential and domestic water users are already being asked to pay more despite the fact WAWS was intended to focus on them first. Of course, this shortfall is not stopping WAWS from granting its executive director hefty bonuses.


Those who have been following the saga of WAWS have known for quite some time that the project was based precariously oil activities propping up the socialistic state financed project.

Now comes word that, despite pre-paying several months of its loans to the Bank of North Dakota during the good times, WAWS will need more money from local communities and local residents to cover the costs of the loans.

WAWS Bailout Pull Quote

At the last Tioga commission meeting, Mayor Drake McClelland said the Western Area Water Supply Authority is taking away the city’s revenue from industrial water sales.

“The bottom line? WAWSA is having trouble meeting their notes,” McClelland told the commission.

The revenues account for about $80,000 a month, McClelland said.

As a result of the lost revenue, the city is freezing promotions of employees, eliminating a planned cost-of-living raise this year, and restricting overtime to emergencies only.


Jaret Wirtz, executive director of WAWSA , said the state is reluctant to guarantee as great a portion of the loans as industrial sales plummet.

As a result, $20 million worth of loans the authority needs are going to have to be supported with residential water sales, the cost of which will be passed on to the entities within the system, including R&T and the Williams Rural Water District, which supplies water to Tioga, Ray, and Crosby.

This means that water rates will likely have to be increased to raise revenue to meet these new obligations.

It is ironic that a project designed to provide domestic and resident by selling water to the oil companies for fracking now has to charge domestic users more due to the lack of industrial sales.

Perhaps the focus should have been on simply building the domestic and residential system first, and take on industrial sales along the way?

Oh wait, that was how it was sold to the legislature!

But that is not what has been happening.

Maybe they were just too busy misleading the State Industrial Commission to focus on getting water to people?

Or perhaps instead of trying to push private enterprise out of the way, they should have focused on providing services.

WAWS Bonuses

In either case, the public is now being asked to pay more for a project the state already funded.

So what is the response of WAWS to this shortfall?

Salary bonuses!

That's right, instead of cutting back and tightening their budgets like the cities of Tioga, Crosby, and Ray have to do - WAWS's board is giving their executive direct regular quarterly bonuses.

For the First, Second, and Third Quarters of 2015 the executive director of WAWS received 10% bonuses - all for watching oil prices and WAWS revenue fall through the floor.

Let's not forget, WAWS is a state-financed and state-regulated entity - it is not a business. It certainly isn't managed like a business, and will always have the ability to charge users and communities more. The industrial component of WAWS has failed because the industrial portion of the project was over-built, now the people that were supposed to benefit for it are going to be paying more.

The promises of WAWS are now being shown to be empty.


-Dustin Gawrylow, Managing Director

North Dakota Watchdog Network

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