About Lewis & Clark
Lewis & Clark is a non-profit 501(c)4 organization incorporated in 1990 and authorized by Congress in 2000 (P.L. 106-246). It is a wholesale provider of water to 20 member cities and rural water systems in a 5,000 square miles area (size of Connecticut) in southeast South Dakota, northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota. Groundbreaking was on August 21, 2003, construction began in earnest in 2004, and operations started on July 30, 2012. Water is currently being delivered to 15 members — Beresford, Centerville, Harrisburg, Lennox, Lincoln County RWS, Lincoln Pipestone RWS, Luverne, Minnehaha Community Water Corp, Parker, Rock County RWD, Rock Rapids, Sioux Falls, South Lincoln RWS, Tea and Worthington. Water rates cover 100% of the operations and maintenance expenses. The source of water is a series of wells that tap into an aquifer adjacent to the Missouri River. With the purpose of improved quality of life and expanded economic development opportunities, Lewis & Clark represents a unique regional approach to address common problems of water quality and quantity in a more effective and cost-efficient way than each member could do alone.
Construction is ongoing to connect the remaining five members — Hull, Madison, Sheldon, Sibley and Sioux Center. When completed the project will benefit an estimated 300,000 people in the region. The original capacity was 23.5 million gallons a day (MGD), but after authorization some members reserved additional capacity to expand the System at their cost to 45 MGD, with the ability to expand to 60 MGD in the future.
Funding for construction is provided through federal, state and local grants. The three states and 20 members have paid 100% of their cost share, so the completion schedule is entirely dependent upon federal funding levels (see Funding link for more information). Construction oversight is provided by the Bureau of Reclamation.
A hallmark of Lewis & Clark’s success through the years has been the strong support and leadership of its federal, state and local officials. Transcending state and party lines, they have worked tirelessly to bring critically needed water to the region. The success of this one-of-a-kind project is a testament to their cooperative efforts.