Pennington County Commission provides update on Missouri River Water Project

RAPID CITY, S.D. — On Tuesday, the Pennington County Commission received data on a proposed pipeline to bring Missouri River water over to West River.

5 3 Missouri River Water Sotvo00 00 06 15still001A progress report was delivered by the executive director of the Western Dakota Regional Water System, Dr. Cheryl Chapman. She says a report drafted by the School of Mines in 2019 shows that average water supply levels in western South Dakota can feed the demand until the year 2120.

However, when it comes to dry years, Chapman says water levels are already too low to keep up with demand.

“This is in part why it’s important to say we can’t always count on that average precipitation. We have to take a look at what happens when in fact we have drought,” said Chapman.

One cost estimate for the pipeline is in the neighborhood of $500 million.

Another estimate for a plan to increase capacity further comes in at just under $1.9 billion.

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