Washington, DC — Minnesota’s senators continue to push for funding for the Lewis and Clark water system.
Democrat U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken have introduced a bill to invest in rural water projects in order to address delays and complete construction. The Authorized Rural Water Projects Completion Act would establish a guaranteed annual investment of $80 million from the Bureau of Reclamation for 20 years to fund the construction of six Congressionally-authorized rural water systems, including the Lewis and Clark project. When completed, the Lewis and Clark Water System will cover a service territory of more than 5,000 square miles and provide drinking water to 300,000 residents and businesses in southwest Minnesota, northwest Iowa, and southeast South Dakota.
Franken says that communities across the region have in good faith paid their full share to fund this project, and they’ve been waiting “far too long for the federal government to do the same”. He says this bill will help fund projects like Lewis and Clark, and that he’ll keep fighting for funding until the Lewis and Clark project is completed.
Funding under the Authorized Rural Water Projects Completion Act would complement existing appropriated funds. The 2015 Energy and Water appropriations bill provided $47.2 million spread across the Bureau of Reclamation’s rural authorized water projects, but current funding is insufficient to complete the projects in a timely fashion.
Meanwhile, Lewis and Clark Executive Director Troy Larson says that Carstensen Contracting of Pipestone is making good progress on the pipeline to Luverne. He says they started construction in February on the 23 borings for the highway, stream and railroad crossings between the Iowa border and Luverne. The contract includes 5.9 miles of 14-inch PVC pipe and 12.7 miles of 24-inch steel pipe. He says Carstensen started installing the 14-inch PVC pipe in early April and plans to have it all in the ground by late May. The first section of 24-inch steel pipe was installed on May 12. Weather permitting, Luverne is expected to begin receiving Lewis & Clark water in December. The City has reserved 821,000 gallons a day.