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Posted on June 18, 2021 at 8:35 AM by Bryan Obenchain
The flood of 2011 unleashed a spirit and a determination unlike anything our community has ever seen. Ten years later, those feelings are still evident.
In 2011, throughout Minot, residents with space in their garage or basement stored items for those who were forced by a rampaging river to evacuate from their homes. If someone needed help moving items or cleaning up their property, a simple request brought help. Friends and neighbors helped each other. Total strangers went out of their way to help in any way they could, without a need for public praise or a desire to get credit or be rewarded. It isn’t always easy, but those are the stories and images we choose to keep fresh in our memories.
A decade later, that community spirit is alive and well. Minot remains a caring community, built with pride, but with a humble streak. Make no mistake about it: Our community takes care of its own when the need arises. The people of Minot are what have always made this community a great place to live. People. That’s what the event on June 26 is all about; that’s what it’s always been about.
The event in Oak Park is scheduled to include:
This day is not a celebration of the flood; instead we gather to celebrate ourselves, our resilience, and our steadfast commitment to protect those in harm’s way throughout the basin. While acknowledging one of the darkest times in Minot’s history, we choose not to dwell on the negative, but to focus on the personal friendships and community partnerships that have been created and strengthened in the past decade. As a community, we must learn from our history, but we must also keep our gaze firmly fixed on the future as we forge ahead to complete the largest and most important infrastructure project in Minot’s history.
On June 26, I invite you to gather in Oak Park as we reflect on where we were 10 years ago as a community, and, more importantly, where we’re headed. We’ve come a long way in 10 years, and though we have much work to do, I believe it’s time to take a moment to remind ourselves of what we’ve accomplished. We’ve made great strides toward a more secure future because of the dedication of our community and our partners on the local, state, and federal levels. We want to acknowledge those accomplishments, and the collaborations that have helped us navigate a decade of uncertainty.
We encourage our residents and those in surrounding communities to participate in this event, but we respect those who simply aren’t ready to join us. For some, memories of the flood are still too vivid, too fresh, and it’s too soon. We understand those sentiments, and we support everyone’s individual decisions on whether or not to attend on June 26.
The mission to protect the residents of the Souris River Basin from future flood events is a massive endeavor, but it is a challenge that we have willingly accepted. We cannot fail. The future of our community and the entire basin depends on our success.
Our future is the focus of the events on June 26. I hope to see you in Oak Park.
Sincerely, City Hall
You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at minotnd.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.
Posted on June 11, 2021 at 11:14 AM by Bryan Obenchain
No doubt most folks in Minot are aware of the temporary water usage restrictions implemented by the City of Minot a week ago after four City wells were offline due to mechanical issues and scheduled maintenance.
We appreciate that customers curtailed their outdoor water usage enough to allow the City’s water reservoirs to be refilled. The cooperation from users reduced the overall demand for water, and helped the system provide enough water for essential uses while equipment was under repair.
Those repairs have been made and the affected wells were scheduled to be back online by this weekend, but the overall situation highlights the importance of completing the Northwest Area Water Supply project as soon as possible.
The NAWS project, which has been in the works for decades, has battled legal difficulties, funding challenges, and other hurdles to get to this point. While miles of pipeline have been completed between Minot and many of our neighboring communities, not one drop of Missouri River has been brought into the system yet. A treatment facility near Max is under construction; the plant was required as part of a legal settlement involving the project and the Canadian province of Manitoba. There are also other phases of the project that need to be completed, and those will be finished in the coming years.
When NAWS is completed, water from Lake Sakakawea will be pumped to that facility near Max, where it will be partially treated before it is piped into the Minot Water Treatment Plant for final treatment. It will then be provided to other communities including Berthold, Kenmare, Burlington, Sherwood, and Mohall, in addition to West River Water District, All Seasons Water District, North Prairie Water District, and Minot Air Force Base. Until then, Minot will continue to provide the water needed to meet the demands of those additional users, which was approximately 815,000 gallons per day in June.
Completing the NAWS project will help Minot’s water system compensate for times when City wells are offline for scheduled maintenance or when wells are down due to unexpected mechanical issues, thereby insuring that everyone on the NAWS system continues to have a reliable source of water. When Minot asked its residents to reduce outside water usage recently, water districts that provide water to Kenmare, Berthold, and other locations also asked residents in those communities to temporarily curb their usage. The message was clear: NAWS binds us all together, and collaboration among all water users is imperative.
In the near future, when water from Lake Sakakawea flows into Minot’s Water Treatment Plant, our system will no longer be so heavily reliant on water from Minot’s 14 wells. To be clear, our wells consistently provide more than enough raw water to accommodate Minot and the additional users. But when Lake Sakakawea water is added to the system, Minot and the other users will have a more consistent and abundant source of water. The lake water will be blended with Minot’s well water.
Also, with an additional source of water available, when the need arises to schedule maintenance on City wells, we’ll have more available storage in the system to alleviate any potential shortages brought on by unexpected events – like the recent equipment failures.
When NAWS is operational and the expansion of the Minot Water Treatment Plant is complete, the facility will be able to treat more than 18 million gallons per day. Currently, the plant is capable of treating roughly 12 million gallons per day, but during peak usage, nearly that same amount can easily be used every day, especially during extremely hot days like we had last week. That makes it difficult to maintain proper levels in the system’s storage facilities. When we have unexpected equipment malfunctions like last week, the amount of raw water we can bring into the system to be treated is diminished, meaning we can’t produce enough water to keep up with demand.
We’re closer than ever to fulfilling the original vision of NAWS – providing a clean, reliable source of drinking water to communities in north central North Dakota. At the City of Minot, we’re excited to be part of this project, and we take our role in assisting our neighbors seriously. We’re proud of the partnerships we’ve forged through the years with local, state, and federal political leaders and government officials. We continue to work with area communities, water providers, and Minot Air Force Base to provide water for their essential needs while we wait for NAWS to be completed.
Most of all, we look forward to the day when the first gallons of Lake Sakakawea water flow through the pipes and into the Minot treatment plant. That day has been a long time coming – and while it’s still a few years away, it’s getting closer every day.
Sincerely, City Hall.
Posted on May 28, 2021 at 3:05 PM by Bryan Obenchain
It’s been a decade since the events of 2011 forever changed our community and altered the lives of thousands of Minot residents and residents throughout the Mouse River Valley.
For some, 10 years hasn’t erased the painful memories of losing a home or a business to floodwaters; some of those memories will never be erased. For many, the past decade has been a winding road to personal recovery, often fraught with financial potholes, detours, and roadblocks.
As we approach the 10th anniversary, there remains a divide on how to best commemorate the events of 2011. There is no one right answer – and there is no wrong answer. Ahead of the upcoming anniversary, the City of Minot and its community and area partners have scheduled an event for June 26 in Oak Park. While plans are still being finalized, there will be a variety of elements to the day, likely including:
For some, the day will be an opportunity to remind themselves that they have persevered through everything Mother Nature threw at them in 2011 and afterward, overcoming personal and financial challenges to arrive in 2021 in a better place.
For others, the event represents everything they’d like to forget from 2011 and the subsequent recovery years, from the loss of their home or business to the financial and personal ruin caused by the event a decade ago.
Every resident affected by the disaster is entitled to their personal feelings, their methods of coping, and whether or not they choose to participate in the upcoming events. Everyone heals in their own way and at their own pace; some will never heal. We understand and respect all sentiments, all opinions, all feelings.
Like many other residents, my family’s recovery from the flood isn’t over, and won’t be over anytime soon. Ours is just one of thousands of stories, each one written and personally lived by our friends, our neighbors, and our community. Although all of us affected by the flood are bound together by the same event, the experiences are uniquely our own. We are all in varying stages of recovery - physically, mentally, financially, and spiritually.
I want to make one thing clear: This is not a celebration of the flood. Far from it. This event is to honor the people of our community and those in other affected communities – it’s always been about the people. The June 26 event will not solely focus on the memories of 2011. The day will also be an opportunity to share our stories of what has been accomplished in the years after the flood. And from that perspective, we should be proud of the work that has been done to secure the future of Minot and other communities in the Mouse River Basin. We also know there is a staggering amount of work ahead of us, and we accept that challenge.
The flood of 2011 isn’t the only thing that has physically changed our community in the past decade; our resilience and our response to those events have transformed Minot into a city with very visible flood protection measures in the form of levees, walls, and pump stations. To that end, we continue to work with local, state, and federal partners to design, fund, and construct a basin-wide plan that provides flood protection well into the future.
Often the events of 2011 are in the forefront of our minds, the sights and smells of that summer seared into our memories even as we remind ourselves of how much we’ve accomplished since the water receded. Yet, the past 10 years also often seemed to have happened in slow motion, as the process of recovery grinds its way through our community’s history and our own personal experiences.
As a community, we embrace everything that’s happened in the years since 2011. While using history as our guide, we focus on our city’s future and our personal futures. At the City of Minot, we certainly have not forgotten the events of 2011; we are reminded daily of what’s at stake as we dedicate our efforts to designing, funding, and constructing the largest infrastructure project in Minot’s history. We cannot change the events of the past, but we most certainly can use the lessons learned to create a brighter future for our community and our residents.
We hope to see you in Oak Park on June 26.