Just last night, we examined the state of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System.
It is supposed to be delivering water to 20 communities across South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.
Only 11 communities are getting water because federal funding has dried up; meaning 9 others are not.
And KSFY News has learned the situation in one of those towns is a little more desperate tonight....and they may soon take action to fix it.
Sheldon, Iowa should have started receiving water from Lewis and Clark last year.
They are not. To keep their water wells in good shape, they depend on rainfall.
And despite heavy rains in the spring, it did not help the way Sheldon had hoped.
"We were hoping that the spring rains would recharge our wells but that's not the case. Our water production is still down quite a bit." City Manager Scott Wynja tells me, as a result...the city of Sheldon is now under a water watch. No car washing, no plant watering, no non-essential use of water...in an effort to conserve as much of it as possible....because there is not much there right now.
And Wynja tells me, sometime within the next seven weeks, the city will decide if they are going to stick with Lewis and Clark...or abandon the project and try something else. "We need to have a hard discussion as far as where we're gonna go from here. Is there an alternative solution by working with Lewis and Clark to make that connection work? or do we have to work with another rural water system to see if we can make some type of inter-connect?"
None of this would be an issue is Lewis and Clark construction had stayed on schedule and federal funding had stayed constant.
All 20 Lewis and Clark communities and their states have paid their pipeline construction costs upfront.
But instead of having a dependable source of water....in Sheldon...all they can do is hope for more rain to build up their water wells. "If we don't have some additional rainfall this summer, over the course of the next two to three months, we're going to have some real concerns going into the fall, the winter, back into the spring of having enough available water for our community."
One option Sheldon may exercise: connecting their water systems into one...if not two...near-by rural water systems in the area.