Worthington pushes for federal funding for water project - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Worthington pushes for federal funding for water project

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It's the promise of a clean, dependable water source for communities across South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.  

When finished, the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System will serve 300,000 customers in about 20 communities. Today, there are 9 still waiting. Worthington is one of them.

State representatives met with the US Bureau of Reclamations Commissioner to push for more federal funding. Representatives said once this project is done, it will do wonders for people in and around Worthington. Right now, water supply isn't enough to promote or handle growth.

We met Dr. Wayne Freese who oversees operations with the Prairie Holdings Group in Worthington. The company runs a number of agricultural subsidiaries including the Newport Laboratories where they develop vaccinations for farm animals.

Dr. Freese knows how important Monday's meeting was because of the urgency of this project. His community is losing business and there's not enough water to keep them here allowing them to grow.

To operate business, he says two things are critical: the amount of water and quality of it. He knows a regional water system like Lewis and Clark will bring both of those.

"Not only in town but the region, it would ensure concise water for ethanol, or whatever it may be. They're going to need water. The whole system would ensure the fact that we can bring business to this area and have that water supply," Dr. Wayne Freese said.

In the private meeting today, state and local representatives are asking the federal government to honor its commitment to pay the rest of what they owe to finish the project.

Worthington will need a $35 million investment to get water supply to the community by 2021.

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