Lewis and Clark Regional Water System officials are hopeful that an increase in the federal Rural Water Program budget will lead to more funding for the water system.
The Fiscal Year 2020 budget recently passed by Congress includes an additional just more than 117-million dollars for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Rural Water program. This is more than 18-million dollars more than Congress approved last year.
Because of the earmark ban, it is now up to the Bureau of Reclamation to determine how to allocate the additional funding among five authorized rural water projects, including Lewis and Clark. Lewis and Clark officials anticipate their project will receive roughly the same percentage of the additional funding as last year, which would bring the project’s Fiscal Year 2020 funding to approximately 18-million dollars. That’s three-million dollars more than last fiscal year. An announcement from the Bureau of Reclamation on the allocation of funds is expected sometime between mid-January and early February.
The Lewis and Clark Regional Water System includes 20 member cities and rural water systems in southeastern South Dakota, northwest Iowa, and southwest Minnesota. Water is currently being delivered to fifteen members. The five members yet to be connected to the water system include Madison in South Dakota, and Sioux Center, Hull, Sheldon, and Sibley in Iowa.
Lewis & Clark also needs to add more wells, treatment capacity and storage to reach its full capacity of 45-million gallons per day.