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Officials: Water Supply Safe From Drought

January 5, 2012, 6:25 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Officials: Water Supply Safe From Drought
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Funding for the Lewis and Clark Water System is been reduced to a trickle, and it appears parts of the state could be headed for a drought. But the city of Sioux Falls says it can weather the storm.

"We do have a ready reserve of water, a ready supply of water to meet the needs of this community," Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether said.

Huether and the city's Public Works department talked water demand from the water tower Thursday. 

The city utilizes several water sources including the Big Sioux River, and Aquifers along the river. Right now residents go through about 6 million gallons per day. And the city has the rights to millions more gallons in order to keep pace with demand.

"We've heard horror stories where we've got these good communities that want to grow. They want to grow in an economic development way, but they can't because they don't have adequate water supplies. In Sioux Falls we don't have that issue," Huether said. 

If drought conditions persist, a new addition to the water supply this year will add even more capacity to the water supply.

"The contracts, the wells, the treatment plant, the piping and the meters have all been let to make sure Lewis and Clark can deliver water to Sioux Falls in 2012," Public Works director Mark Cotter said. 

Cotter said per capita water use today is lower than levels in the late 1990's. The city has enough water to keep up with demand for at least 50 years, even during a persistent drought. So the taps here should stay flowing for anyone who turns them on. 

The city also has more water rights along the Missouri in addition to it's commitment to Lews and Clark pipeline, which will eventually provide up to 28 million gallons per day.

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