Reports and Publications

The Department of Water Resources technical reference library consists of approximately 10,000 publications providing various statewide water resource information with some publications dating back as early as the 1900s. The library is accessible through an online catalog, you can access them here. Publications are stored in a temperature controled location at the Department of Water Resources with public, and other state agency access available through North Dakota State Library. For more information regarding a Department of Water Resources publication, you can contact the ND State Library reference desk at e-mail, or (701) 328-4622. The Department of Water Resources contact is Karen Heinert at e-mail, or (701) 328-2760.

Biennial Reports

The Department of Water Resources and the Office of the State Engineer have been publishing agency Biennial Reports since 1904. These reports highlight key events, accomplishments, and other pertinent activities of the agencies during each biennium.

The 2019-2021 Biennial Report and previous reports.

Strategic Plans

DWR developed a new 5 Year Strategic Plan to guide the deployment of resources toward key objectives, goals, and tactics that will remain a focus through June 2027. The new plan is also intended to help create awareness among the public and stakeholders about agency priorities.

The 2022 5 Year Strategic Plan and previous strategic plans

Alternative Sources Of Funding For Flood Related, General Management & Water Supply

The Alternative Sources of Funding Brochure contains information about a variety of funding programs offered by various entities for flood-related, general water management, and water supply projects. This document is intended as a resource for local sponsors whose projects do not qualify for funding from the Department of Water Resources, or for those seeking additional funding partners.

Infrastructure Loan Fund Opportunities

In 2021, North Dakota’s Legislature and Governor’s Office worked to advance legislation intended to support and create infrastructure loan fund opportunities for a broad spectrum of infrastructure needs. This new informational publication from DWR outlines these newly created opportunities.

County Ground Water Studies

The County Ground Water Studies program provides a general inventory of the state's ground water resources. These studies identify the location and extent of major aquifers, hydraulic properties, water chemistry, estimated well yields, and the occurrence and movement of ground water - including sources of recharge and discharge. The county studies were prepared in three parts: Part I describes geology; Part II provides ground water basic data, which includes lithologic logs of test holes and wells, water levels in observation wells, and water chemistry analyses; and Part III describes the general hydrogeology. County Ground Water Studies are available for all counties in North Dakota.

North Dakota Ground Water Studies

The North Dakota Ground Water Studies is a collection of over 100 ground water studies from areas all over North Dakota, dating back to 1946, and continuing until the present day. Most were undertaken at the request of cities and rural water systems to address some water supply or water quality issue. Many, especially the earlier reports, were written by or in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey.

International Souris River Board Reports

In order to ensure a more ecosystem-based approach to transboundary water issues, and to achieve operational efficiencies in the conduct of International Joint Commission (IJC) responsibilities, the IJC has combined the ongoing responsibilities of the International Souris River Board of Control and the Souris River aspects of the International Souris-Red Rivers Engineering Board mandates, into the International Souris River Board (ISRB). The ISRB operates under a Directive from the IJC. It assists the IJC in preventing and resolving disputes relating to the transboundary waters of the Souris River basin.

North Dakota’s Department of Water Resources Director serves as Co-Chair of the ISRB along with a counterpart from Canada.

To view the current and past ISRB Reports, please visit the ISRB website.

Landfill Studies

The North Dakota State Engineer and the North Dakota State Geologist were instructed by the (1991-1992) 52nd State Legislative Assembly to conduct site-suitability reviews of the solid waste Landfill Studies in the State of North Dakota. The purpose of this program was to evaluate site suitability of each landfill for disposal of solid waste based on geologic and hydrologic characteristics.

North Dakota Water Articles

The Department of Water Resources contributes a three-page section of articles to a magazine titled North Dakota Water, published by the North Dakota Water Education Foundation. The pages are designed to inform readers about agency projects and programs, as well as local, state, and national water management issues. The magazine is published monthly, excluding February and August.

Water Resource Investigations

Water Resource Investigations comprise a group of special studies outside of the scope of the North Dakota County Ground Water Studies and the North Dakota Ground Water Studies. Topics include artificial recharge, soil hydraulic properties, and water chemistry.

Preliminary Engineering Reports

Preliminary Engineering Reports include dam, flood control, drain, irrigation, and other surface water-related studies, for specific locations. The reports were developed by the Department of Water Resources staff in order to provide information to agency and other entities in North Dakota, such as alternatives analysis, associated costs, and to assist in making water resource-related decisions. Older reports completed in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s are often still relevant because these projects and locations may be the subject of future studies.

The Current

The Current is a means of providing the latest agency-specific information concerning water development, regulatory and appropriation efforts, water education, policy changes, Water Commission meeting highlights, and much more. The Current newsletter will be produced on a quarterly basis.

Educational Publications

In addition to the publications listed above, the Department of Water Resources and Office of the State Engineer produce a wide variety of materials of interest to the public.

Facts About North Dakota Fracking & Water Use

With the growth of the oil boom in recent years, and the development of water dependent technologies that allow the capture of oil that was previously inaccessible, the public has expressed interest about how oil development may be affecting the availability of North Dakota’s water resources.

Facts About North Dakota Fracking & Water Use provides and overview of these issues and what they mean for North Dakota.

Surface Water Management In The Little Missouri River Scenic River Basin

In March of 2017, while evaluating temporary water permits for points of diversion in the Little Missouri River Basin, a question of consideration of N.D.C.C. §61-29-06 was raised. Upon consideration of the express prohibition of industrial diversions of water within the basin, all applications for water permits were placed on hold. Further enquiries indicated that provisions of the statute had never, from the time of passage of the law, reached or been applied in the permitting of water, which is governed under provisions of N.D.C.C. ch. 61-04, and Article 89-03 of North Dakota Administrative Code. Reasons for the disconnect are complex, speculative, and beyond the purpose of this report.

Telemetry For Monitoring Oil-Field Water Use

Beginning in 2011, at the request of Governor Dalrymple, the staff of the Water Appropriation Division conducted a pilot study to evaluate the feasibility of using telemetry to monitor real-time or frequent-time water pumping data from water depots.

Assessment Of Potential Use Of Telemetry For Monitoring Oil-Field Water Use is a brief executive summary that provides a synopsis of the conclusions of the study, and recommendations for future action.

A Reference Guide To ND Waters

A Reference Guide to ND Waters provides general information about water resources in North Dakota. It is presented on a statewide basis, as well as addressing the five major hydrologic basins that comprise the state. The information is related to: the properties of water, watershed concepts, surface water, ground water, atmospheric water, water use, water words, and water manager descriptions.

ND's Water Resources Map

ND's Water Resources Map is a 22 x 34 inch poster/map completed in 2015, which highlights the geography of the state's waters and several water development efforts.

Office of the State Engineer - A Tour

In 2005, the Office of the State Engineer marked its 100-year anniversary. This 10-page illustrated article details the history of the Office of the State Engineer, since it was officially established in 1905.

As a result of HB 1353 passed during the 2021-2023 Legislative Session, the Office of the State Engineer no longer exists.

Practitioner's Field Guide

Practitioner's Field Guide is a 12-page report titled: "A Practitioner's Field Guide to Guessing in the Dark: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Uncertainty," by James T. Fay, P.E. This publication discusses the uncertainties of the practice of hydrology and how to deal with those uncertainties.

Today's Missouri River

Today's Missouri River is a full-color publication that provides general information on the Missouri River, particularly the North Dakota portion of the river. It discusses the benefits of the river, and summarizes some of the most pressing issues of the river system.

Water Theft & Unauthorized Water Sales

The increasing need for water to serve industry has also increased the temptation to take or sell water from locations where it is readily available. However, the taking or selling of water for industrial use without a permit is illegal in North Dakota. The Water Theft and Unauthorized Water Sales Brochure summarizes this issue.

Temporary Water Use Permit

A brochure explaining what a temporary permit is, when it is needed, and how to apply for one, is now available.

A Comparison Of Historic River Crests With 2011 Flood Events

The purpose of this map is to provide a glimpse of the severity of the 2011 flood events in various river systems throughout the state.

Closed Basin & Lake Flooding

Closed Basin & Lake Flooding has been developed to address a unique issue to some North Dakotans. The publication is intended to educate the public about what closed basins are and flooding risks that can be associated with them. Topics that it covers include; the challenges to managing closed basin flooding, understanding risks, and ground/surface water exchange. It also contains information regarding NFIP and closed basin flooding.

Floodplain Management Quick Guide In North Dakota

This Quick Guide will help you understand more about why and how communities in the State of North Dakota manage floodplains to protect people and property. North Dakota’s floodplain management programs have been active since 1981. Floodprone communities adopt ordinances that detail the rules and requirements of developing in the floodplain. In case of conflict, that ordinance and not this publication, must be followed. If you have questions, be sure to talk to your local planning or permitting office.