Stalled SW Minn. water project up for vote

A vote scheduled for this week could re-start a stalled water project that has yet to deliver water to Minnesota.

The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System is supposed to deliver Missouri River water to southwest Minnesota. But construction ended when Congress failed to deliver promised funding. The project is already pumping Missouri River water to communities in South Dakota and Iowa, but so far Minnesota participants have been left out.

The vote will ask the system's 20 members to shoulder the cost for the next phase of the project.

It's a divisive issue. Lewis & Clark's largest member, Sioux Falls, S.D., says it will vote against the funding plan.

"The city feels that we have fulfilled our financial commitment to Lewis & Clark," said Sioux Falls city engineer Chad Huwe. "And now we believe it's time for the federal government to fulfill theirs."

The planned construction would extend the pipeline to the southwest Minnesota city of Luverne. The city would be the first state community to get water from the project.

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