Economic Analysis

Legislation passed by the North Dakota Legislature in 2017 created NDCC 61-03-21.4 - requiring the DWR to: “develop an economic analysis process for water conveyance projects and flood-related projects expected to cost more than one million dollars, and a life cycle analysis process for municipal water supply projects. When the State Water Commission is considering whether to fund a water conveyance project, flood-related project, or water supply project, the DWR shall review the economic analysis or life cycle analysis, and inform the State Water Commission of the findings from the analysis and review.”

To comply with the 2017 legislation, the DWR contracted with HDR Inc. to assist the agency in drafting Economic Analysis (EA) guidelines/processes. This document provides guidance and a process to project sponsors who are pursuing flood control or water conveyance projects that are subject to the completion of EA per policy requirements.

On December 6, 2019, the Water Commission adopted policy requiring EAs on all flood control and water conveyance projects requesting cost-share, that have a total project cost of $200,000 or more.

North Dakota Guidance for Economic Analysis of Flood Control and Water Conveyance Projects

Please note – any project sponsors seeking SWC cost-share assistance for flood control or water conveyance projects expected to cost $200,000, or more, must complete and submit an EA before their cost-share application can be considered.

In addition to the guidance document, the agency and HDR Inc. developed an electronic fillable platform that project sponsors and the agency can use to assist with more efficient assessments of projects. Sponsors are responsible for downloading the most current version of the worksheet for submission of results with their application.

Updated 5/2024 - Economic Analysis Worksheet for Evaluating Flood Control and Conveyance Projects

EA Model/Worksheet Instruction

Please note - Appendix A in the guidance document provides a detailed, step-by-step overview of model/worksheet usage for “Urban” area projects. Appendix B in the guidance document provides a detailed, step-by-step overview of model/worksheet usage for “Rural” projects.

EA Guidance and Model/Worksheet Tutorial Video


A webinar recording is available to assist project sponsors with filling out the Economic Analysis portion of cost-share applications.

One of the North Dakota Water Resource Districts Association and North Dakota Water Education Foundation’s virtual 2020 summer meetings included an educational session on Economic Analysis - presented by the Water Commission’s staff Economist. The workshop presentation, titled “Economic Analysis and Example Project,” was focused on what Economic Analysis is, and how to fill out the downloadable tool that is accessible using the link above.

The North Dakota Water Resource Districts Association and the North Dakota Water Education Foundation provide an unedited version of the virtual presentation “Economic Analysis and Example Project” at the North Dakota Water Channel.


Questions about the North Dakota EA Guidance document and model/worksheet can be directed to the Planning & Education Division at (701) 328-4968.