Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2019ND203B

Evaluation of the costs between Devils Lake flooding adaptations and Sheyenne River salinity damages resulted from Devils Lake outlet operations

Institute: North Dakota
Year Established: 2019 Start Date: 2019-05-31 End Date: 2020-05-30
Total Federal Funds: $5,500 Total Non-Federal Funds: $11,000

Principal Investigators: Haochi Zheng

Abstract: The Devils Lake outlet projects in North Dakota, USA have been successful in mitigating regional flooding issues over the past decade. However, as the highly saline water (with especially high sulfate concentration) from the Devils Lake flowed into the nearby Sheyenne River, the river inevitably suffered from an increase of water salinity, which could bring negative environmental and economic impacts to the region. Previous studies have estimated the costs of the Devils Lake flooding adaptations, this study aims to identify and estimate the potential damages from the increasing water salinity of Sheyenne River, multiple aspects including agricultural activities (crop yield loss, cost in advancing irrigation), recreational activities (loss in fishing and sightseeing) and daily water usage (costs for new water treatment plants) will be assessed in estimating the damages. By comparing the costs between the Sheyenne River salinity damages and the Devils lake flooding mitigation, we aim to further evaluate the regional economic trade-offs under the outlet projects and provide insights for future policymaking.