Lewis & Clark Executive Director talks about planning for next water system project

The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System is getting closer to completion for its 20 total members, including the City of Madison.  Executive Director Troy Larson said that Madison is expected to be connected to the system by mid-2024, and the final member – Sibley, Iowa – in late 2024 or early 2025.  He said that Madison and all of the other members are also slated to receive additional expansion capacity that will add to their base capacity reserved through the pipeline.  Larson said the expansion is expected to be completed by 2030, but even with that, he said a majority of the Lewis & Clark members need more water long-term.  He said the planning for that has just been getting started.

In speaking to the Madison Rotary Club Monday, Larson provided background on the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program from more than 70 years ago.  This was a plan for the conservation, control, and use of water resources in the entire Missouri River Basin.  Larson said they are looking at that program in their planning going forward.   

Larson said there are close to one-point-six-billion gallons  per day remaining from the  Pick-Sloan program.  He said that they are following the North Dakota model, where there are four major regional water supply projects serving 85-percent of the state’s population.  Larson said that another regional water system is needed to help meet the needs in parts of eastern South Dakota.

Larson said the new system, which they are looking to call Dakota Mainstem Regional Water System, would not compete with existing water systems.  He said that they have a steering committee put together to continue to explore the concept.  

Larson said that the steering committee met with the state Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Secretary and other state officials in November.  He said the state is willing to help define the extent of the problem and possible solutions, so their next step is to identify a possible service area for them to study and the resources that will be needed.  


February 1, 2023