- Associated Press - Friday, March 18, 2016

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) - Farmers in northeastern South Dakota are worried that a proposed drainage ditch project in southeastern North Dakota could cause them problems.

The project was approved in Dickey and Sargent counties two years ago to drain floodwaters into the James River. Construction is to begin this spring. Some North Dakota farmers already have dug private ditches to drain excess water off their land into the main channel, the American News reported (https://bit.ly/1UjfBZf ).

Project engineers have factored in private ditches connecting to the larger channel, according to Chad Engels, water resource engineer for the Dickey-Sargent Joint Water Resource Board. The project is designed to move 20 cubic feet of water per second into the James River before it hits South Dakota, an amount that officials say would have little impact on people downstream.

However, some farmers south of the border worry they will have no control over the water flow and might be dealing with more water than expected.

“If they have uncontrolled draining in North Dakota, that will have an effect on the amount of water that’s in the Jim River, and it wouldn’t be good for us,” Brown County farmer Roger Schuller said.

Dickey County farmer and project supporter Steve Hanson said it only makes sense to channel excess water into a river to improve soil conservation.

“When you can channel water in the right direction that it’s supposed to go and when you have a river that’s so close, that just makes a lot more sense than to have it running all over the ground going everywhere,” he said.

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, https://www.aberdeennews.com

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