Vermillion, SD — The news is mixed for the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System. The system is supposed to provide Missouri River aquifer water to towns in Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota. Most of the South Dakota towns are hooked up, but only one community in Iowa and none in Minnesota have water flowing.
The project is designed to help get clean drinking water to the communities and to spawn economic development that could not occur without access to more water.
They got good news this week about this year’s funding says Executive Director Troy Larsen.
But he says the news for 2015 isn’t good at all.
He says the proposed $2.4 million is not only a slap in the face for the member communities, but it’s also a slap in the face to the tri-state Congressional Delegation members such as Senators Harkin and Grassley and Congressman Steve King.
While the federal government continues to under deliver what they have promised, Larsen says they continue to work out logistics of other options.
He says that plan is moving forward, but although Lewis & Clark is well-known in the tri-state area, some work needs to be done to convince people from other areas of the states that it is a worthwhile project. Larsen says this year they’re working on getting just a little money flowing and educating legislators about the issue.
The project is to serve several communities in our area including Sheldon, Sibley, Sioux Center, Hull, and Rock Rapids. Rock Rapids is the only town in Iowa that is connected and receiving water. There is a line between Sioux Center and Hull that is in use, but right now it’s just Sioux Center water being sold to Hull and being transported in the Lewis & Clark pipeline. Sheldon would also get their water through this line, but a line from Beresford to the Sioux Center area has to be put in, as well as a line from Hull to Sheldon to hook up Sheldon to the system. Sibley’s water is to come through the Minnesota branch of the line.
It has been said that at the rate they are going — five miles per year — it will take over 13 years to get to Sibley — the last town on the line. The project started 24 years ago.