US, Canada reach deal on disputed $244M water project

Canada will have a say in the operation of a major Missouri River water project in the northern U.S. under a deal negotiated by officials in the two countries to end a 16-year-legal battle.

The Northwest Area Water Supply project aims to bring river water to as many as 82,000 people in northwestern North Dakota. The Canadian province of Manitoba sued in 2002 over concerns about the possible transfer of harmful bacteria or other agents to the Hudson Bay Basin.

The agreement between the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Manitoba sets up a team with U.S. and Canadian representation to oversee water treatment and monitoring.

It's not final until a federal appeals court formally dismisses the case. The state of Missouri also is still fighting the project in court.