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Water system serving South Dakota to see influx of funding

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Merrilee Gasser

(The Center Square) – A record amount of construction is expected for the South Dakota Lewis & Clark Regional Water System this year following a $75.5 million boost from the federal government.

Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo and Bureau of Reclamation leaders gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony in Beresford on Wednesday to mark the occasion.

The $75.5 million will pay for constructing the last 32 miles of the pipeline for the Madison service line, 17 miles to Sheldon, meter buildings, a pump station, and a new water storage reservoir, according to the DOI.

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The money is part of a $420 million chunk of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated for rural water development in March. A total of $8.3 billion was allocated for Bureau of Reclamation infrastructure projects.

Troy Larson, the executive director for the project, said in March the new funding would allow them to move forward with a record amount of construction in 2022. The project will also be eligible for more federal funding next year, Larson said.

The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System provides water to 20 member cities and rural water systems in a 5,000 square mile area covering parts of South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota, according to the DOI.

Groundbreaking on the project took place in August 2003. It is currently 86 percent complete, the DOI said.

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The plan for the completed water system is to deliver treated water through 337 miles of pipeline with a capacity of 45 million gallons of water per day and the ability to expand to 60 million gallons of water per day in the future, according to the DOI. The system uses a series of wells, meter buildings, pump stations and water storage facilities.

The pipeline currently provides water to 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, according to the DOI.