Reclamation Funds Lower Niobrara Study through Rural Water Program

Media Contact: Michael Kube, (308) 389-5321
Terri Salter, (308) 389-5306

For Release: September 23, 2010

The Bureau of Reclamation announced that the Lower Niobrara Natural Resources District has been selected to receive a $197,944 funding assistance grant through the Reclamation's Rural Water Program.

The funding will be used for a rural water supply system study in North-Central Nebraska. The appraisal investigation will focus on developing a regional water supply system through expansion of the existing West Knox Rural Water System in Knox County. The plan could provide benefits to the Santee Sioux Nation, the West Knox Rural Water System, the Cedar-Knox Rural Water System, the City of Creighton, the Village of Niobrara and the Village of Center. The investigation will include identification of possible water supply sources and an evaluation of distribution system alternatives.

"We recognize that rural communities in Northeastern Nebraska face the challenge of securing adequate clean water for domestic, municipal, and industrial uses," said Aaron Thompson, Nebraska-Kansas Area Office Manager. "This funding will allow Reclamation to work with those communities to explore opportunities to secure usable water supplies."

An appraisal investigation is an analysis of domestic, municipal and industrial water supply problems, needs, and opportunities primarily using existing data. The investigation includes a preliminary assessment of alternatives to determine if there is at least one viable alternative that warrants a more detailed study at the feasibility level.

Through the Rural Water Program, Reclamation works with small communities of 50,000 or less to investigate opportunities to ensure safe and adequate rural water supplies. The program also plans the design and construction of rural water supply projects by conducting of appraisal investigations and feasibility studies. In addition, the programs provides appropriate oversight for the construction of rural water supply projects that are recommended for construction by Reclamation and subsequently authorized by Congress.

The Rural Water Program was authorized in 2006 in Title I of the Reclamation Rural Water Supply Act, P.L. 109-451. Rulemaking for the program was conducted with public comment in 2008 and an interim final rule was instituted in 2009 that established the programmatic criteria for the program.

To learn more about Reclamation's Rural Water Program please visit

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

Relevant Link:

Nebraska-Kansas Area Office Home Page