Without water, economic development withers. As the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System forges ahead, it’s clear that the communities hooked into the system are seeing the benefits.

In 2012, Sioux Falls and nearly a dozen other communities connected to the system and Executive Director Troy Larson says a lot of treated water flows north.

“Actually most people don’t realize that Sioux Falls gets 55 percent of their water from Lewis and Clark. Currently thirteen of our members are receiving water. We still need to get water to seven more.”

A $50 million shrimp farm is one of the outcomes of extending the pipeline to Luverne and Larson admits the states deserve credit for investing in the project.

“They did it on the merits of the project. This project is so critically needed. States believed in this project and were inspired to get it done. In Minnesota, it’s already paying dividends because this shrimp harbor is huge. The economic development they are going to have is about $23 million a year to Luverne and the surrounding area.”

Currently Lewis and Clark is building pipeline between Adrian and Worthington with a reservoir and a meter building to follow in order to connect Worthington by the end of 2018.

After that connections to five more partners remain to complete the project. Four communities in Iowa are still waiting as Sibley, Sheldon, Hull and Sioux Center need a connection along with Madison, South Dakota.

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