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Lewis and Clark Water System receives over $18M in federal funding

The top of a large water tower with a logo reading "Lewis and Clark Rgional Water System"
Slater Dixon
A Lewis and Clark water tower near Beresford, SD.

The U.S. Government has allocated over $18 million in additional funds for the Lewis and Clark water system.

The money, which comes from the energy and water appropriations bill, comes as the system shifts into a new phase of expansion.

The Lewis and Clark Water System was incorporated in 1990. Since its inception, the system has grown to servicing over 20 cities in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa, producing over 44 million gallons a day.

Troy Larson is the system’s executive director. He said the money is needed to continue expanding the system’s reach.

“The funds will be used toward the third and final phase of our water treatment plant by Vermillion. The plan has been all along to construct that plant in three different phases. This third phase will allow us to get to our full reserve capacity of 44.19 million gallons a day,” said Larson.

Phase three is the last part of the system’s first expansion. But the system isn’t done growing.

“We are already looking at what is needed beyond 60 million gallons a day. A second expansion. So, the first expansion, we are going to go from 44 million gallons a day to 60. So, that first expansion is already underway," said Larson. "The second expansion would be potentially beyond 60 million gallons a day and we anticipate it could potentially double the size of our system, if not more.”

Larson said a large chunk of the money awarded to the system was due to federal bipartisan cooperation.

“Lewis and Clark has historically enjoyed incredible cooperation across state and party lines. It’s one of those projects where Democrats and Republicans can work together to get critically needed water to the tri-state region. So, a big shout out to our tri-state delegation," said Larson. "In particular, Senators Thune, Klobuchar, Rounds, and Smith. They included a congressionally directed spending request for Lewis and Clark for $12 million dollars, that was a big chunk of this $18 million.” 

Larson said Lewis and Clark Water System’s team is preparing to fulfill the future needs of residents in the state and across state lines.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.