Water begins to flow from awaited Lewis and Clark line….. and the timing couldn’t be better!

From the Associated Press:  TEA, S.D. – Water started flowing through the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System on Monday after more than two decades of planning and construction.

A treatment plant near Vermillion began producing water for distribution to 11 of the 20 member cities and rural water systems, including Sioux Falls.

The regional water system was incorporated in January 1990 with the goal of supplying 300,000 people in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa with water from the Missouri River.

“With our members unfortunately experiencing critical water needs in the face of a crushing drought, we are extremely pleased that Lewis & Clark is able to begin producing water just in the nick of time,” said Board Chairman Red Arndt, of Luverne. “This project has been an enormous undertaking. Words cannot express the range of emotions of finally reaching this point.”

The $462 million project is not expected to be finished for several years, and federal funding for construction is uncertain due to budget cuts.

“We continue to work tirelessly to ensure the remaining nine members are connected as soon as possible,” Arndt said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the treatment plant is scheduled for Aug. 21 — the nine-year anniversary of the Lewis & Clark Water System groundbreaking.

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