The ribbon cutting for a 2.5-million-gallon Lewis & Clark Regional Water System water tower marked more than three decades of collaboration and a project nearing completion.
“We can see the finish line from here,” said Lewis & Clark Executive Director Troy Larson, standing in front of the 220-foot water tower near Beresford, S.D. The regional water system is designed to bring 45 million gallons a day to 20 member communities and rural water systems from an aquifer adjacent to the Missouri River.
Construction of the entire system is 93% complete. Five final members are yet to be connected – Sioux Center, Hull, Sheldon, Sibley, and Madison, S.D. When completed the project will benefit an estimated 350,000 people in the region. The water tower is vital to bringing water to Sioux Center, Hull, and Sheldon.
Representatives from federal, state, and local government and from the 20 member water systems gathered for the event, highlighting that this project has crossed state and party lines.
“This is a tremendous piece of infrastructure,” said Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo. “We’ve allocated $75.5 million this year for this project in particular to be able to help it come to completion sooner rather than later, and it’s great to be here to celebrate.”
Funding for construction is provided through federal, state and local grants. The three states and 20 members have paid their cost share, so the completion schedule is dependent upon federal funding levels. Construction oversight is provided by the Bureau of Reclamation.
For Sioux Center, connection is anticipated in either late fall 2022 or spring 2023, adding 600,000 gallons per day to the local supply of high-quality water.
“Lewis & Clark is a legacy-type project that will serve generations to come,” said Lewis & Clark Board Chairman Murray Hulstein, who has been part of the regional project since it began in 1990. “It will bring critical drinking water to the tri-state area.”