The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

April 30, 2014

Pipes lengthen, water costs rise in southwest Minn.

(Continued)

“We look forward to that,” said Mark Johnson, who manages Minnesota’s largest rural water system. Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water relies on a few high-quality wells and distributes it to farmers and communities in 10 counties. But Johnson said he worried that drought could curtail supplies and the Lewis and Clark project would be more dependable.

“There’s been no recorded history when the Missouri River’s dried up,” Johnson said.

But so far there hasn’t been enough money to finish the project. The pipeline ends in a Minnesota farm field just across the Iowa border. Backers hope the Minnesota Legislature will provide the money that Congress cut off, but so far lawmakers haven’t acted. If the Legislature says no, Lewis and Clark members may be asked again to fund the Minnesota leg of the project. In a vote last fall though, that approach was overwhelmingly rejected. The project also has the option of going back to Congress for more money. That approach also hasn’t worked in recent years.

Minnesota Public Radio News can be heard in Mankato on 90.5 FM or at MPRnews.org.

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