WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published October 28, 2010, 06:07 PM

Water Commission to Fund Additional Devils Lake Outlets

Now that the State Water Commission is on board to put money towards helping Devils Lake Flooding, what's the feeling in the Lake Region?

People in the Lake Region say they were looking for a visible sign of support and they feel they've gotten one.

Devils Lake Mayor Dick Johnson says "we see some light at the end of the tunnel."

A tunnel that some feel they've been traveling through for 17 years.

"Something is finally being done, and I certainly want to congratulate Governor Hoeven and the State Water Commission for stepping up to the plate," says Ramsey County Commissioner Joe Belford.

Although a lot still needs to be done to prevent Devils Lake flooding, right now everyone would like to focus on the good news, that the State plans to design new and bigger outlets.

$1.5 million will be used to design a parallel outlet that would expand the flow by 100-cubic-feet-per-second from Round Lake into the Sheyenne River.

$2.2 million will be used to study a potential gravity outlet on the east end of the lake and half-a-million for a geotechnical analysis for some kind of a control structure to prevent an uncontrolled spill from Stump Lake to the Tolna Coulee.

Ultimately, the three projects could end up costing up to $50-million dollars.

"This is the first time we can see maybe an end coming to this. We still have some hurdles to overcome, but we're going to get there," says Johnson.

The current West-end Outlet removes 160-million gallons of water a day, but that hasn't been enough.

The proposed bigger outlets are expected to take off twice as much water.

Johnson says "we can see some progress being made and I'll tell you, I've already had several phone calls with people elated and thanking the city for doing what they did and this emergency declaration type thing and the governor responding."

Relief is now a word coming from the mouths of those in the Lake Region.

"I am, I can tell you that for sure and I think I reflect pretty well what the community feels and the phone calls I've had, last night and again this morning, they're happy, a lot of people are encouraged by what's happening," explains Johnson.

Johnson says most of the work will depend on the weather, but right now, everyone is looking at the good news.