February 11, 2020 - 4:24 pm - Posted in News

Tea, SD — The project that started in 2004 to bring Missouri River aquifer water to several area communities continues to make progress. The Lewis & Clark Regional Water system has just been informed of federal funding levels for this year, and the news appears positive.

According to Lewis & Clark Executive Director Troy Larson, the Bureau of Reclamation has announced that the system will receive $18 million in federal funding for fiscal year 2020, an increase of $3 million compared to the previous fiscal year.

Larson says, “Thanks to the hard work and strong support of our tristate delegation, Congress approved an additional $117.4 million for the Rural Water Program in the FY20 Budget. Reclamation in turn allocated $17.9 million of this amount to Lewis & Clark. When combined with the $100,000 proposed by the administration it brings our total for fiscal year 2020 to $18 million.”

He tells us the funding will be used to cover a portion of three construction projects — a radial collector well adjacent to the Missouri River near Vermillion that is anticipated to produce 16 million gallons per day, a 2.5 million gallon water tower just east of Beresford, and the 12.6-mile middle segment of 24-inch pipeline between Beresford and Sioux Center.

Looking ahead to the NEXT fiscal year, Larson tells us the administration’s proposed fiscal year 2021 budget was released on Monday. For the third consecutive year, it only includes $100,000 for Lewis & Clark.

According to Larson, “While very disappointing, the proposed funding is not surprising. We will again be counting on our tristate delegation to secure additional funding for the Rural Water Program.”

He tells us that based on recent federal funding levels, which are subject to change, it is anticipated Sioux Center and Hull will be connected in 2022, Sheldon in 2023, Sibley in 2024, and Madison in 2025.

Photo caption: Lewis & Clark pipeline construction east of Beresford

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