U.S. Water News Online
PIERRE, S.D. -- The Lewis & Clark Water Project is so
important to future growth in eastern South Dakota that the state
must position itself to finance the pipeline with bonds if federal
funds disappear, a Sioux Falls lawmaker said.
Republican Rep. Ron Williamson persuaded the House State Affairs
Committee to endorse his bill that would create a mechanism to
authorize up to $500 million in revenue bonds for the project, which
would pipe water from the Missouri River to communities and farms in
eastern South Dakota, northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota.
The bill passed on a 10-3 vote and goes to the House floor for
``It's not something that's going to happen tomorrow, but it is an
alternative for financing,'' Williamson said of the funding plan.
``By 2012, we have to have this project done.''
That's a projected date at which the Sioux Falls area will have
grown beyond the ability of existing water supplies to meet the need.
``We will be unable to continue to expand,'' Sen. Dick Kelly,
R-Sioux Falls, told the House panel. ``We won't run out of water, but
our ability to expand and continue to grow will, if not come to a
stop, be slowed.''
Legislators questioned if the bill would let the federal
government off the hook for money.
``Once we start to fund federal water projects ourselves, they
cease to be a priority for the federal government,'' said Rep. Mel
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