Members of Minot’s City Council selected a path for the future of flood control Tuesday, choosing the Maple Diversion option in the Lincoln area and the 27th Street Southeast diversion plan.

Engineers will now compile all available data into a preliminary draft of the entire flood protection plan, which is due to be presented Feb. 29.

No matter what the flood protection plan ultimately looks like, one aspect of the discussion must never be forgotten: There must be different and better water management included in any flood protection plan. Without serious changes in water management, Minot remains at risk for flooding, even after a new flood protection system is put in place.

Designing, funding and building such a massive flood control system could take as long as 10 years, engineers and officials have said. If there aren’t significant changes in water management throughout the Souris River valley, including the United States’ agreement with Canada, what will Minot residents do until the system is built?

It’s unacceptable that the city and its still flood-weary residents would be left to build and rebuild temporary dikes every year until a flood protection system is completed. Last year’s epic flood proved that current water management plans do not work. Those plans must change, and they must change now. Otherwise, everything Minot is doing to protect itself in the future will be meaningless.