Rural Water Projects
Contact: Dan DuBray, (202) 513-0574
Current data indicates that millions of Americans still live without safe drinking water. Congress has specifically authorized Reclamation to undertake the design and construction of six projects intended to deliver potable water supplies to specific rural communities in the West. The projects that benefit tribal nations include, the rural water component of the Pick Sloan-Missouri Basin Program - Garrison Diversion Unit (North Dakota), Fort Peck Reservation/Dry Prairie Rural Water System (Montana), Jicarilla Apache Rural Water System (New Mexico), and Rocky Boy’s/North Central Rural Water System (Montana). The Mni Wiconi Project (South Dakota) is not listed as one of the six, because funding is only sought for operation and maintenance of tribal features following completion of construction. Other rural water projects include: Lewis and Clark Rural Water System (South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa), and Eastern New Mexico Water Supply (New Mexico).
Reclamation has been working diligently to continue progress on all of its authorized rural water projects consistent with current fiscal and resource constraints with the goal of delivering potable water to tribal and non-tribal residents within the rural water project areas.
Allocating resources for rural water projects involves funding for operation and maintenance (O&M) of the completed tribal features and progress on the unfinished construction projects. The first priority for funding rural water projects is providing sufficient funding for meeting the statutorily required tribal O&M component. Reclamation then allocated the funding for the FY 2016 rural water construction dollars using the Prioritization Criteria for Funding Rural Water Construction. The prioritization criteria include the following categories: 1) financial resources committed; 2) urgent and compelling need; 3) financial need and regional economic impacts; 4) regional and watershed nature; 5) meeting water, energy and other priority objectives; and 6) serving Native Americans. In addition, the process also took into consideration the ability of the projects to complete segments that would likely result in delivering potable water to their residents.
The FY 2016 Budget provides $36.6 million in funding for Reclamation’s Rural Water Projects. There are two components for rural water funding, construction and, where statutorily required, tribal operations and maintenance (O&M). This request includes $18.6 million for ongoing construction on authorized rural water construction projects. The total amount also includes $18.0 million for O&M of tribal features for two projects -- the Mni Wiconi Project and Garrison Diversion Unit. Funding in FY 2016 for the rural water projects is described below:
- Garrison Diversion Unit, ND — this municipal, rural, and industrial water supply program provides benefits statewide, including four Indian reservations. Tribal projects are being constructed on the Standing Rock, Fort Berthold, Spirit Lake, and Turtle Mountain Indian Reservations. Non-tribal projects are being constructed throughout the state, including the Northwest Area Water Supply Project and the Southwest Pipeline Project. FY 2016 funding for the rural water construction component of this project is $7.4 million. The request also includes $6.0 million for the operation and maintenance of tribal features.
- Mni Wiconi Rural Water System, SD — this municipal, rural, and industrial project provides benefits to both tribal and non-tribal populations. Responsibilities of the Secretary under the Act include the operation and maintenance of existing water systems and appurtenant facilities on the Pine Ridge, Rosebud, and Lower Brule Indian Reservations. The request includes $12.0 million for the operation and maintenance of tribal features as construction of the project is complete.
- Jicarilla Apache Reservation Rural Water System, NM — This project will replace existing water and wastewater facilities in and around the town of Dulce, New Mexico, and provide services to the newly developed area of Mundo Ranch. No new funding is requested for this project in FY 2016.
- Lewis and Clark Rural Water System, SD, IA, MN — this project is located in the southeast corner of South Dakota, the southwest corner of Minnesota, and the northwest corner of Iowa. Raw water is collected from alluvial aquifers near the Missouri River in South Dakota, treated, and distributed through a network of pipelines, pump stations and storage reservoirs. The project will deliver water to 20 existing rural water systems and municipalities throughout the region (including the City of Sioux Falls). FY 2016 funding for construction for this project is $2.8 million.
- Fort Peck Reservation / Dry Prairie Rural Water System, MT — this project is located in northeastern Montana. Groundwater from shallow alluvial aquifers is currently the primary water source for the municipal systems. The regional rural water project will provide for a single water treatment plant located on the Missouri River, near Wolf Point, Montana, and will distribute water through 3,200 miles of pipeline. FY 2016 funding for construction for this project is $3.7 million.
- Rocky Boys / North Central Montana Rural Water System, MT — this project is a regional water system in coordination with the Chippewa Cree Tribe (Tribe) of the Rocky Boy's Reservation and the North Central Montana Regional Water Authority (Authority). A core pipeline will provide potable water from Tiber Reservoir to the Rocky Boy's Reservation, while non-core pipelines will serve 21 surrounding towns and/or rural water districts. The rural water system will provide the necessary infrastructure to ensure existing water systems are in compliance with Federal Safe Drinking Water Act regulations. FY 2016 funding for construction for this project is $4.6 million.
- Eastern New Mexico Water Supply, NM ---- Ute Reservoir, on the Canadian River, was constructed to supply water to communities in the region. The project will construct water supply facilities providing for the use of Ute Reservoir water to serve eight communities in the region and will provide a long-term renewable supply and reduce the dependence of these communities on rapidly diminishing and/or impaired groundwater. The budgeted funding for this project in FY 2016 is $47,000.
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