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 seven divisions that make up the DWR: Administration, Atmospheric Resources, Planning and Education, Regulatory, State Engineer, Water Appropriation, and Water Development.

DWR is primarily located in the State Office Building near the State Capitol in Bismarck, North Dakota. In addition, DWR has field offices in Fargo, and near Minnewaukan.

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.


Present and future generations of North Dakotans will enjoy an adequate supply of good quality water for people, agriculture, industry, and fish and wildlife; Missouri River water will be put to beneficial use through its distribution across the state to meet ever increasing water supply and quality needs; and successful management and development of North Dakota's water resources will ensure health, safety, and prosperity, and balance the needs of generations to come.


To improve the quality of life and strengthen the economy of North Dakota by managing the water resources of the state for the benefit of its people.

Philosophy and Values

In the delivery of services to the citizens of North Dakota, we the employees of the Department of Water Resources value fairness, objectivity, accountability, responsiveness, and credibility. We pledge to use professional and scientific methods to maintain only the highest of standards in our delivery of services to our constituents.


Goal 1

Promote development and investment in water resource projects.

Goal 2

Utilize technology and education to increase our understanding for the improved management of the state’s water resources.

Goal 3

Continue our strong commitment to sustainable water management.