Groundbreaking held for Meade County’s new rural water system
Bear Butte Valley Water, Inc., a recently established non profit corporation, is building a new rural water system with the assistance of USDA Rural Development. State Director for Rural Development Elsie Meeks joined Jacqueline M. Ponti-Lazaruk, USDA Rural Development Assistant Administrator for the Water and Environmental Program (Washington, DC), to announce a water and environmental loan to Bear Butte Valley Water, Inc. in the amount of $2,917,000 and a grant of $2,000,000. The State of South Dakota is providing additional funding through a $1,500,000 grant and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services is also providing significant funding through its EQIP program to provide water for livestock. Representatives from the congressional offices, South Dakota Rural Water representatives, Meade County Commissioners, local residents, the engineer, and Sturgis Economic Development were also on site for the groundbreaking activities.
“The federal funding will assist Bear Butte Valley Water Inc. in forming a rural water system that will serve ranchers and rural residents in Meade County,” said Meeks. “The development of a central rural water system will enhance the quality of life in the area and facilitates sensible and sustainable economic development.”
The project’s construction activities include 140 miles of distribution pipeline, water storage facilities, and all associated appurtenances that will be necessary to meet the domestic water needs of the customers within the system. Potable water will be available to the 215 users and 150 service locations when construction is complete. The project will also provide dependable water for ranchers in the area.
Neal Rowett, Board President of Bear Butte Valley Water, Inc. and life long resident of the area stated, “A dependable, safe water supply has been a dream of the people in this area since the first settlers. I glad I am here to see the dream realized. This water system will provide relief to all those home owners forced to haul water to their homes.”
George Vansco, a South Dakota Rural Water representative that has been assisting the local Board members in securing funds for the system, observed, “Without the grass roots support from rural residents and the dedication of the volunteer board of directors this rural water system would have never gotten off the ground. Establishing a reliable water source that meets EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act regulations will provide rural users high quality water for many years to come.”
USDA Rural Development in South Dakota has offices in Aberdeen, Huron, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Yankton. For more information, visit the USDA Rural Development website at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/sd. F
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the March 6, 2021 edition of Tri-State Livestock News