Water resources in West River in good shape, despite constant flux

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Local members of the science and technology community took part in the 15th Annual Western South Dakota Hydrology Meeting at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

The one day conference Thursday discussed the state of water resources in western South Dakota. Scientists in the public and private sectors presented the latest research in the field. 

Joyce Williamson, the director of the USGS Dakota Water Science Center, says water resources in the Black Hills are in a constant state of flux between periods of drought and high rainfall.

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“We flex a lot, although we are lucky in that we have water resources like the Madison Aquifer, the Minnelusa Aquifer, that are a great resource for drinking water as well as other water uses in the area,” Williamson said.

Williamson also said that extreme flood events followed by extreme drought events are becoming more common with the changing climate. For example, events like the 1972 flood, that were once called 100-year events could now be 50-year events.

In the fall, East River water resources will be discussed in Brookings.

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