Lewis & Clark Receives Boost In FY15 Funding

Tea, South Dakota — The Bureau of Reclamation (BoR) notified the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System on Friday, February 6th, that the project will be receiving a total of $9 million in funding for FY15.
lewis & clark water tower
This is an increase of just under $6.6 million from the just over $2.4 million proposed by the Administration in its FY15 Budget. The increased funding was the result of efforts by the tri-state congressional delegation to increase funding for BoR’s Rural Water Program by an additional $31 million. BoR officials then made the final decision on how to allocate the $31 million among six rural water projects.

Executive Director Troy Larson says that it’s really good news. He says they cannot thank the tri-state congressional leaders enough for their hard work and leadership to secure the additional funding. He says the lawmakers really “went to bat” for Lewis & Clark. He says he also appreciates the Bureau of Reclamation for their support. Larson notes that while the $9 million alone will not result in water being delivered to another member, it will be used to make important progress toward connecting the remaining members.

The system announced in September, 2014 that due to a State of Minnesota advance on missing federal funds, they would be able to run enough pipe this year to hook up the city of Luverne.

In addition to the Minnesota and South Dakota water systems that are part of Lewis & Clark, connections are also planned to Sheldon, Hull, Sioux Center, and Sibley. Rock Rapids Municipal Utilities is already connected, as is the Lyon/Sioux Rural Water System, through their partnership with Rock Rapids. Luverne will be the first Minnesota system connected, and the city of Madison, South Dakota is the only South Dakota town still not connected.

Background Information:

The Administration proposed $16.3 million for rural water construction in its FY15 Budget, with $2.4 million of that for L&C. With the additional $31 million the total FY15 construction funding for the Rural Water Program is $47.3 million. This is close to the $49 million in the FY14 Budget and the $51 million in the FY13 Budget.

The combined remaining federal cost share for the six rural water projects is currently $1.4 billion. According to a 2014 BoR report, if $50 million is appropriated for the rural water construction each year, and assuming four percent annual inflation, the remaining federal cost share for the rural water projects would increase to $1.8 billion by 2065.

On February 2 the Administration released its FY16 Budget, which proposes $18.5 million for rural water construction, with $2.774 million being designated for L&C.

Incorporated in January 1990, L&C is celebrating its 25th 65 percent complete and is delivering water to 11 of its 20 members. When completed L&C will benefit an estimated 300,000 people in southeast South Dakota, northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota in a service area the size of Connecticut.



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