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Published January 23, 2012, 05:15 PM

Devils Lake Reps Discuss Flooding at International Water Conference

DEVILS LAKE, ND (WDAZ-TV)- 400 officials from North Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba are gathering to discuss water issues in the Red River Valley. And Devils Lake is expected to make a splash at the conference.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

DEVILS LAKE, ND (WDAZ-TV)- 400 officials from North Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba are gathering to discuss water issues in the Red River Valley. And Devils Lake is expected to make a splash at the conference.

Ramsey County Commissioner Joe Belford says plans to pump water into the Red River Basin have made the lake a touchy subject.

"At one time, Devils Lake water carried a high salt content and so forth and so there was some questions about the water quality issues," Belford said.

People are asking those questions more often now because the water here is only five feet from naturally overflowing and reaching the Red River. The water will end up in Lake Winnipeg, which makes Devils Lake everyone's problem.

Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resource Board Manager Jeff Frith agrees. He adds, "As we get closer to our natural overflow elevation and we're trying to remove more water out of it, it's certainly gonna be more of a concern to them as it was in the past."

"They come down here to see our problems. I go up there and see their problems," Belford said. "We share resources and try to work solutions all together."

The Red River could face its own flooding issues. Water from Devils Lake could make it worse.

"That's something that the state water commission is trying to prevent is putting water into the Sheyenne and the Red River during their peak flood events in the spring", says Frith.

But by working on problems together, Belford says officials will be able to deal with regional flooding the best way possible.

"We're in the Red River Basin. All of us. We share the common problem, and we try to come up with a solution to help everybody."

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