BILLINGS, Mont – Today, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo joined Bureau of Reclamation leaders at a ribbon cutting event to celebrate a $75.5 million investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law into the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System. The funding was allocated in March 2022, as part of a $420 million investment in rural water.
“The Biden-Harris administration is steadfast in our commitment to investing in rural America and to ensuring that every family and every community has sufficient access to safe, clean, reliable water,” said Assistant Secretary Trujillo. “Through this $75.5 million investment provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the tremendous partnership of Lewis & Clark, this project will eventually benefit 300,000 people in the tri-state area, supporting families, farmers, wildlife and furthering our work to tackle historic drought conditions.”
Assistant Secretary Trujillo was joined at the event by Reclamation’s Missouri Basin and Arkansas-Rio Grande-Texas Gulf Region’s Regional Director Brent Esplin, and Lewis & Clark Regional Water System Executive Director Troy Larson.
The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System is a non-profit 501(c)4 organization incorporated in 1990 and authorized by Congress in 2000. It is a wholesale provider of water to 20 member cities and rural water systems in a 5,000 square miles area in southeast South Dakota, northwest Iowa, and southwest Minnesota. The initial groundbreaking was on August 21, 2003, construction began in earnest in 2004, and operations started on July 30, 2012. Water is currently being delivered to 15 members: Beresford, Centerville, Harrisburg, Lennox, Lincoln County Rural Water System, Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water System, Luverne, Minnehaha Community Water Corp, Parker, Rock County Rural Water Department, Rock Rapids, Sioux Falls, South Lincoln Rural Water System, Tea and Worthington.
The project is currently 86% completed, with funding for construction provided through federal, state and local grants. The states and members have paid 100% of their cost share, and the $75.5 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will go toward constructing the remaining 32 miles of pipeline for the Madison service line, the 17 miles of pipeline to Sheldon, meter buildings, a pump station and a new water storage reservoir.
When completed, the system will distribute treated water through 337 miles of pipeline. The capacity of the completed system will be 45 million gallons of water per day with the ability to expand to 60 million gallons of water per day in the future. The system utilizes a series of wells to tap into an aquifer adjacent to the Missouri River near Vermillion, South Dakota. In addition to a traditional lime softening treatment facility, the non-looped system also includes a series of wells, meter buildings, pump stations and water storage facilities.