Department of Water Resources

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) was created in 2021 by Legislative action. DWR was previously called the State Water Commission, which itself was created by Legislative action in 1937 for the specific purpose of fostering and promoting water resources development throughout the state.

DWR has the authority to investigate, plan, construct, and develop water-related projects, and serves as a mechanism to financially support those efforts throughout North Dakota. There are six divisions that make up the DWR: Administration, Atmospheric Resources, Planning and Education, Regulatory, Water Appropriation, and Water Development.

DWR is primarily located in the Bank of ND Building, 1200 Memorial Highway, Bismarck, North Dakota. In addition, DWR has field offices in Fargo, and near Minnewaukan.

About DWR Fact Sheet

Office of the State Engineer

North Dakota’s State Engineer is responsible for several regulatory functions and responsibilities as part of the Department of Water Resources, including allocation of the state’s waters, dam safety, and drainage.

Vision Statement

The Department of Water Resources will sustainably manage and develop North Dakota’s water resources for the health, safety, and prosperity of its people, businesses, agriculture, energy, industry, recreation, and natural resources.

Mission Statement

To responsibly manage North Dakota’s water needs and risks for the people’s benefit.

Values Statement

The Department of Water Resources values fairness, objectivity, accountability, responsiveness, engagement, and credibility. We pledge to use professional and scientific methods to maintain the highest of standards in our delivery of services.

Strategic Initiatives

The DWR Strategic Plan furthers the implementation of Governor Doug Burgum’s strategic initiatives: Main Street Initiative; Tribal Engagement; Reinventing Government; Behavioral Health and Addiction; and Transforming Education.


The DWR Strategic Plan outlines five key overarching objectives to be accomplished with establishment of goals and tactics for each objective.

Objective 1

Effectively communicate with the public and stakeholders with a primary focus on collaboration and building partnerships.

Objective 2

Develop world-class, sustainable, and resilient water development and management practices.

Objective 3

Support beneficial use of Missouri River system water and other available water supply sources.

Objective 4

Implement innovative ideas, technology, and grow analytic capabilities to improve efficiencies in water management and development.

Objective 5

Improve the department’s internal resilience and promote a positive culture.