Getting to Know Garrison Diversion Directors - Mark Cook

Posted: Sep 29 2020
ND Water - September 2020
Kimberly Cook
Mark Cook, Renville County

The Garrison Diversion Conservancy District (Garrison Diversion) board of directors consists of an elected official from each member county of the 28-member district. Directors are elected to serve their county for a four-year term. The full board meets quarterly, with additional committees meeting at various points throughout each year.

A large variety of interests and backgrounds provide a diverse group of individuals, but collectively, they all have the same purpose in mind. The members work to fulfill Garrison Diversion’s mission to provide a reliable, high quality and affordable water supply to benefit the people of North Dakota.

As we continue profiling the directors who comprise the board, we introduce to you Mark Cook, Renville County.


Mark Cook was appointed to the Garrison Diversion board in 2012, and currently serves on the executive committee and is chairman of the Agriculture Committee.

“I am honored to be a member of Garrison Diversion and our work to make sure North Dakotans have access to quality water,” says Mark. “We have so many projects going on at all times, from irrigation at the Oakes Test Area bringing invaluable information to producers in North Dakota to developing and maintaining irrigation on the McClusky Canal, along with recreation projects across the state and the Red River Valley Water Supply Project bringing Missouri River water to central and eastern North Dakota.”

“We are working hard to make sure North Dakota receives its full water rights from the Missouri River, and Garrison Diversion’s involvement with municipal, rural and industrial water supply projects includes water for the Southwest Pipeline Project, the Western Area Water Supply, Northwest Area Water Supply and the Red River Valley Water Supply Project,” he says. “There are a lot of regulations and politics involved in all these projects, but we continue to do what we can to be successful.”

“The McClusky Canal is an important part of the Garrison Diversion and I would urge anyone to take a tour or drive along the McClusky Canal. I think you would be surprised, as I was, at this great engineering project,” says Mark. “We can be proud we have it in North Dakota, and that it benefits recreational uses plus is finally being used for about 7,000 acres of irrigation.” Mark is no stranger to the water industry, as he has served on the Renville County Water Resource District since 1994, recently retiring from his board position in 2019.

Raised in northwest North Dakota on a farm in Kenmare, Mark began his agricultural career in 1979 after taking over the family farm near Kenmare. While they still assist their son, a fourth-generation farmer, on the farm, Mark and his wife, Kathy, spend most of their days at the Pizza Hub restaurant in Kenmare, which they purchased a few years ago.

Mark and Kathy were married in 1975 and raised their family 22 miles northeast of Kenmare. They have four children
and 12 grandchildren. When not making pizza, spending time with the grandkids or on the farm, Mark enjoys archery
hunting deer and elk.