Legislative Session 2024 

WDRWS is thankful for the legislative passage and signing of Senate Bills 16 and 53. Both are acts to make appropriations for water and environmental purposes. 

Governor Noem signed SB 53 on March 14. The legislation includes $89,384,221 in federal fund expenditure authority to the Board of Water and Natural Resources to provide grants for eligible water and wastewater projects previously awarded American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. WDRWS is requesting the Board of Water and Natural Resources to award $2.165M of the ARPA funding to assist in the technical studies for the proposed project. 

On February 15, the Governor signed Senate Bill 16, which includes a $1 million grant for WDRWS to conduct a feasibility-level study and administration of the study. These funds won’t entirely pay for the $13 million study, but will provide a large percentage of the resources required. The approved appropriations will come from the South Dakota Water and Environment Fund and be distributed by the Board of Water and Natural Resources. 

“Thank you to Governor Noem, the South Dakota Legislature, and the Board of Water and Natural Resources for prioritizing water and planning for the future,” says Doug Curry, P.E., WDRWS President. 

Feasibility Study 

The WDRWS feasibility study involves the evaluation of potential Missouri River and Lake Oahe intake locations, interconnectedness of existing water resources, and pipeline routing from the Missouri River. The WDRWS was formed in late 2021 and the feasibility study began in early 2022. The initial study is projected to be completed by the end of 2026. 

“The Western Dakota Regional Water System has the potential to provide generational benefits to west river residents. Funding the project’s feasibility study is the first step to finding a long-term solution to the region’s water supply limitations as we face continued population growth,” says Senator Helene Duhamel of Rapid City. 

The State of South Dakota previously allocated $1 million to the WDRWS feasibility study during the 2023 legislative session, as well as $8 million in ARPA funds in 2022. West river communities, water systems, and organizations have contributed over $300,000 that was matched through State Water Resources Management System (SWRMS) funding. Following 2024 legislative action, the SD Board of Water & Natural Resources awarded WDRWS another $1 million grant, which requires $250,000 in local match. 

These state and local funds will help us in our feasibility analysis to ensure that all of western South Dakota has access to abundant, quality water. Thank you to the South Dakota Legislature and Governor for the ongoing support for WDRWS.

Western Dakota Regional Water System

Copyright WDRWS 2024

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