Tea, South Dakota — After just hearing last week that the Iowa Legislature has decided to give them $4.5 million in the form of a federal funding advance, the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System has now announced even more good news.

The federal government has been historically slow on fulfilling their end of the bargain, according to Lewis & Clark Executive Director Troy Larson. That’s why they have been asking for “loans” or “federal funding advances” from the state legislatures, which they hope to pay back when the federal government pays their share.

But the funding news this time from the federal government is better than in past years. Larson says the Bureau of Reclamation has announced that Lewis & Clark’s total funding from the fiscal year 2018 Budget will be $14.875 million. Last time they only received $9.15 million. Larson says the funding increase is great news and says it will be used to construct the segment of pipeline between Beresford, SD and the Big Sioux River, which is just under 15 miles. He says they won’t know if it will be enough money to fund the entire segment until the bids are opened in August. He says this leg of the pipeline is the one that will someday feed Sioux Center, Hull, and Sheldon.

Additional background information from Larson:

“The administration originally proposed $3.65 million for Lewis & Clark in the FY18 Budget.

The tristate congressional delegation then worked hard to secure an additional $48 million for Reclamation’s Rural Water Program. It was announced this past February that a bipartisan budget agreement was reached adding $10 billion in infrastructure funding to the FY18 Budget. The tristate delegation then urged appropriators to direct a portion of these funds to the Rural Water Program. Through these efforts, another $18.5 million was directed to the Rural Water Program, bringing the total additional funding for the Rural Water Program to $66.5 million. Because of the earmark ban, which unfortunately includes fully vetted authorized projects like Lewis &Clark, after President Trump signed the FY18 Budget on March 23 the Bureau of Reclamation then had 45 days to determine how to allocate the $66.5 million in additional funding among five authorized rural water projects. Reclamation allocated $11.225 million to Lewis & Clark. Along with the $3.65 million proposed by the administration, this brings total funding for FY18 to $14.875 million.”

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