The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

April 30, 2014

Pipes lengthen, water costs rise in southwest Minn.

Heavy irrigation in farm country and increasing demand in the Twin Cities have raised recent concern among many Minnesotans about the adequacy of their water supplies.

But in southwestern Minnesota, water scarcity is an old problem, one that at times has been expensive to solve. Now it is getting moreso.

Just this spring, Marshall is laying a $13 million, 27-mile pipe to bring water to its residents and businesses. The small Cottonwood County town of Mountain Lake, where water levels have dropped, plans this summer to spend a half million dollars for a new well and even then might not get the quality it would like. And Worthington and Luverne city officials are hoping to convince the Legislature in coming weeks to spend nearly $70 million to let them bring water from South Dakota.

Some worry that the region’s ability to grow economically is at stake. On the other hand, the sense of water awareness many residents and businesses here have developed over the years may be a lesson for other Minnesotans.

“Never enough, never enough supply,” is how Leonard Swenson sums the issue up. The retired Dawson area farmer spent years and thousands of dollars searching unsuccessfully for adequate water on his farm.

In the 1960s and 1970s he drilled at least five wells that failed to yield anything, each for about a thousand dollars. For more than two decades, he spent about $600 a year to have a delivery man truck in water just for the household.

“He had a thousand-gallon tank on the truck, and he’d drive up. And we’d have to have two loads a month,” Swenson said. “So it was not a good thing at all.”

Swenson eventually was able to hook up to a rural water system that piped a high-quality supply to his farm. But even though better distribution systems have solved some problems, water troubles persist in the region today.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Congress racing to finish Congress races to finish veterans, highway bills

    July 31, 2014

  • Target New CEO [Duplicate] Target names Pepsi's Cornell as chairman, CEO MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target has hired Pepsi executive Brian Cornell as its new chairman and CEO as it looks to recover from a huge data breach and troubles in Canada. Cornell replaces interim CEO John Mulligan, who is chief financial officer for the M

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brain wave monitoring is better gauge than using a focus group, study says To predict a large population’s likely response to something — a product, politician or policy — political consultants, marketing gurus and advertising execs have long favored the focus group. Ask a small segment of the target audience what it thinks

    July 31, 2014

  • Argentina slides into default as debt talks fail NEW YORK (AP) — The collapse of talks with U.S. creditors sent Argentina into its second debt default in 13 years and raised questions about what comes next for financial markets and the South American nation's staggering economy. A midnight Wednesd

    July 31, 2014

  • Exchange Bee Researcher [Duplicate] Bee researcher takes aim at central Minnesota park WAITE PARK — Crystal Boyd strained four bees, three flies and one leafhopper from a yellow pan trap, the third of 12 in a transect topping a granite outcrop in Quarry Park Scientific and Natural Area.She popped everything into a labeled, zip-top plas

    July 31, 2014 4 Photos

  • Cinema verite documentarian Robert Drew dies at 90 Filmmaker Robert Drew, a pioneer of the modern documentary who in "Primary" and other movies mastered the intimate, spontaneous style known as cinema verite and schooled a generation of influential directors that included D.A. Pennebaker and Albert M

    July 30, 2014

  • Homeowner killed, another injured in Vegas crime spree LAS VEGAS — A horrific carjacking and home invasion spree ended with two people dead and a woman in critical condition. One victim, Richard Ramos, a 59-year-old father of four, “fought to his death” to protect his wife and children from their attack

    July 30, 2014

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-9 [Duplicate] UPDATE: Suspect in Minnesota officer killing in custody WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Police in Minnesota say a man wanted in the shooting death of an officer is in custody after being shot by police. St. Paul police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos says 39-year-old Brian Fitch Sr. got out of a minivan firing at

    July 30, 2014 4 Photos

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-3 [Duplicate] Minnesota officer killed making traffic stop WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A police officer in Minnesota was fatally shot Wednesday while making a traffic stop and authorities said they were searching for a suspect. Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick, 47, was shot about 12:20 p.m. after pulli

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Possible suspect caught in Minnesota cop shooting WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A potential suspect in the shooting of a police officer in Minnesota has been captured. Minnesota Public Radio News reports that the officer was killed. Television news footage showed the man being pulled from his vehicle Wednes

    July 30, 2014