Western Dakota Regional Water System leaders plan to bring Missouri River to Black Hills

Water is an important for all human survival.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 12:27 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The water availability versus the demand in western South Dakota does not look good for future generations.

Western Dakota Regional Water System is a non-profit organization that started in 2021 with help from the South Dakota Mines according to the board president, Dale Tech.

“The availability of water could become a very severe problem in the short term, if you will, in the next decade or two. So, now’s the time to start talking about other water resources,” Tech said.

According to the water system’s latest newsletter, the prediction that a long period without adequate rain would leave current water resources depleted.

Executive director for WDRWS, Cheryl Chapman agrees with the research.

“This year has probably been the best year for precipitation since our beginning, but we know that situation can change oftentimes very quickly, and so we’re talking about being prepared now in the future for enough water for all citizens of our western South Dakota,” Chapman said.

A plan that the leaders have is to build a Missouri River pipeline to bring water into the Black Hills. The members were able to come up with a rough cost estimate through South Dakota Mines.

“It was about 2 billion dollars for a six-foot diameter pipe, which is a very large pipe. Obviously, that was just a very initial estimate and obviously, the water needs need to be determined first which will ultimately determine the size of the pipe and the ultimate cost,” Tech said.

The grassroots community-led effort brings together about 100 people from various backgrounds all interested in the same idea to fight for water security.