Lewis & Clark receives $18.75 million for FY05

Lewis & Clark receives $18.75 million for FY05 Congress passed the FY05 Budget on Nov. 20 as part of an omnibus appropriation bill.

The legislation included $18.75 million for the Lewis & Clark Rural Water System, which is $1.75 million more than last year.

"This was a tough budget year, and we're very grateful to our elected leaders for working across party lines and state lines to secure this funding," said Executive Director Troy Larson.

To keep construction on schedule, Lewis & Clark officials had requested $35 million.

"Although we had been informed that the full $35 million would not be possible this year, we had hoped for a higher number. We will need to scale back the construction we planned to start in 2005, but the good news is that our funding levels continue to increase each year," said Larson.

The FY05 Budget included $17 million for the Mid-Dakota Rural Water System, which is a large water project in central South Dakota. This is the last year Mid-Dakota will receive federal funding.

"With Mid-Dakota off the table, we expect a portion of the money that had been going to that project to be redirected to Lewis & Clark," said Larson.

With the Administration currently in the process of finalizing its FY06 Budget, Lewis & Clark officials are already looking ahead. Last year President Bush included $17.5 million in his budget for Lewis & Clark.

"We need to ramp up funding. During the next couple months we'll be working closely with our elected leaders to try to improve upon last year's number," said Larson.

Installation of the pipe began in June 2004. Depending on federal funding levels, construction of Lewis & Clark is expected to take about 10 years. When completed, it will deliver treated water from the Missouri River to 21 member communities and rural water systems in southeast South Dakota, northwest Iowa, and southwest Minnesota. These members serve over 200,000 people in an area the size of Connecticut.

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