Bakken Slowdown Allows Water Authority to Focus on Community Needs

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The decline of oil activity in the Bakken has a ripple effects on many other industries.

One example is the Southwest Water Authority.

What you hear at this water depot is different from what you'd hear during the height of oil production.

One clear example of how Southwest Water Authority has been affected by this slowdown is at Dickinson's water depot where trucks used to line up to get water.

You won't hear as many industrial trucks filling up now and the Southwest Water Authority is aware of that.

"The slowdown in oil has impacted our water use both as far as fewer customers using water currently," Massad said.

But Massad isn't worried about the slowdown. She says it allows the water authority to serve its communities in a better way.

"We were never built for the oil industry, our payback is not based on oil industry. So it has been a bonus we have been able to do things we would not normally do," Massad said.

The Southwest Pipeline Project has 16 contracts under construction, with Killdeer joining last week. Massad says these projects will help build up the region for the future.

"Just constant change, and it is ever changing both our needs, and what we need to do to meet the water needs of our communities," Massad said.

For example, Massad says the authority's goal is to provide drinking water to southwest North Dakota, and that's exactly what they've been able to do.

"Thirty-three communities, more than 57 farms and ranches, small businesses," Massad said.

The Southwest Water Authority provides more than 2 billion gallons of drinking water per year.