WDRWS Newsletter Q1 2024

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New Underwood was incorporated in 1908. The town has relied on two wells for their water. “And they’re always at risk of failing,” Mayor Hall says.

Read more on page 2.

2024 South Dakota Legislative Session

WDRWS is closely watching two bills this legislative session: Senate Bill 16, which would provide funding for WDRWS and other water projects in the State Water Resources Management System, and Senate Bill 53, which appropriates funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to water and wastewater projects in South Dakota.

You can follow along at sdlegislature.gov to track the progress of these two bills.

Mark your calendars

...The 2024 WDRWS Annual Meeting will be on Tuesday, September 10. Stay tuned for more details about the location and line-up of speakers and presenters in the upcoming months. Last year’s Annual Meeting featured messages from legislators, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Geological Survey, S.D. Mines and other insightful points of view. We’re eager to unveil more details about this informative and exciting event soon.

Issue 4, Quarter 1, 2024

Meet this quarter’s Consulting Team

Clear and effective communication is important to WDRWS. Learn more about the local company that’s helping WDRWS tell its story.

Evergreen Media is a Rapid Citybased company that specializes in creating high-quality local publications. Some of their titles include Black Hills Visitor, Black Hills Bride, FACES of the Black Hills and many more wellbeloved Black Hills magazines. The Evergreen team also serves clients, like WDRWS, by assisting them in their marketing and content development needs.

“I love having the opportunity to help the public get a clear picture of the importance of this project through great communication.”

New Underwood

Teresa Hall serves as the mayor of New Underwood. She is also a board member for WDRWS. “It’s a really worthwhile project,” she says. “I really think it’s important that New Underwood gets in on the ground floor. If we don’t take part in things like this, we’ll get left behind. This will keep our town alive.”

Hall deeply cares about her hometown and adores the lifestyle that New Underwood provides for her and her family. “I moved to New Underwood when I was in seventh grade. I graduated high school here, moved away and then moved back. I just really prefer small town living,” she says. “I’ve got family here. My husband’s family is here. I work in insurance right here in New Underwood, and let me tell you what, it’s been the best.”

New Underwood was incorporated in 1908. The town has relied on two wells for their water. “And they’re always at risk of failing,” Hall says.

Small Towns at Risk

“I don’t want us ever to be without water. If we don’t have water, we don’t have a town,” Hall says. For communities like New Underwood, the need to create redundancy in

Save the Dates

Quarterly Technical Sessions – open to the public Technical Session are open to anyone interested in learning more about important technical issues associated with ensuring an abundant, quality water supply for western South Dakota. The sessions are held the first Friday of the first month of each quarter at noon.


April 5, 2024, 12:00 pm:

Understanding Drought and Other Weather Predictions with Doug Kluck, Central Region Climate Services Director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (invited)

Overview of emerging data and weather trends for South Dakota and the region.

Send us a message at wdrws.org/contact to request a Zoom link to upcoming Technical Sessions.

We all typically take water for granted. When I was a little girl, we lived on the Cheyenne River. We, of course, had a well with a pump, and sometimes we would go weeks without electricity in the winter. That meant that we couldn’t pump our water.

their water system may be even more pressing than that of larger communities.

Due to geological and topographical features, communities east of the Black Hills usually rely on

shallow wells to tap into aquifers. These shallow wells are typically more vulnerable to degradation of water quality and depletion. For this reason, it is likely that as water sources are strained more in western South Dakota, the first communities to feel the repercussions would be smaller communities on the plains — like New Underwood.

Mayor Hall is optimistic for both the future of this infrastructure project and of her hometown of New Underwood. “I’m really excited about the future, and I hope that the momentum just keeps gathering. We just need to get the word out. It’s important that people know that this is going on and why we’re doing it.”

Life Without Water

As a child, Hall had a first hand experience of a life without ready access to water. She knows the struggles and the decrease in quality of life that restricted access to water brings.

“We all typically take water for granted. When I was a little girl, we lived on the Cheyenne River. We, of course, had a well with a pump, and sometimes we would go weeks without electricity in the winter. That meant that we couldn’t pump our water. So, a lot of times, we would have to go out and melt snow. If we didn’t, a lot of stuff would come to a stand still. We had to have water to basically do everything.”

Become a member

Individuals and water system organizations of any size are able to support the work of WDRWS. So whether you’re a subdivision, a municipality or an organization who has a stake in our water future, please consider joining.

Membership runs on a calender basis, starting on January 1 of each year.

Class 1 Member

Voting member –$1500 annual dues

An organization with at least 200 residential connections or commercial equivalent

Class 2 Member

Voting member –$750 annual dues

To share a digital version of this newsletter, read past newsletters or to subscribe to receive a copy of the WDRWS newsletters in the future, scan the QR code to the right or visit wdrws. org/newsletter.

The act of western South Dakota piping in water from the Missouri River is by no means a minor project. “It’s going to take many, many years for this to come to fruition,” Hall explains. “But every year that we wait, is another year that we’re behind. If you want to make a change and make a positive impact, a lot of times you just have to start yourself. So I hope that if I step up in my way, other people will be able to see the need and step up themselves. I hope that we’ll create some momentum that way. ” Share

An organization with less than 200 connections or commercial equivalent or an organization with over 200 residential connections that is fully built out within its jurisdictional territory

Associate Member

Non-voting member –$375 annual dues

Any firm, corporation, political entity, or subdivision not eligible to be a voting member but desiring to support WDRWS

Supporting Individual

Non-member –

$50 annual dues

Any individual or interested party desiring to support WDRWS

newsletter or subscribe


PO Box 484

Rapid City, South Dakota 57709

Frequently Asked Questions

As awareness of this project grows, an increasing number of conversations are happening regarding the topic of water for western South Dakota. Here are some of the most common questions.

Is the purpose of WDRWS to spur growth in western South Dakota?

No. The WDRWS was formed to address current needs due to water shortages during drought. As it sits today, if western South Dakota experiences a prolonged drought, the current population wouldn’t have enough water. Recent growth trends in western South Dakota have increased the overall water demand, further increasing the potential for a shortage under drought conditions.

Will the water supply from WDRWS be utilized to support mining?

No. The WDRWS Articles of Incorporation specify that the non-

profit corporate association is formed “...for the purpose of providing good quality drinking water and water for domestic use to their members.” As such, the stated purpose excludes the use of WDRWS water for mining.

Why doesn’t western South Dakota implement more conservation measures instead of bringing more water to the region?

Unfortunately, conservation alone isn’t enough to ensure abundant and clean water for everyone in western South Dakota. When we couple conservation efforts with supplementing our current limited water supplies, we can ensure a sustainable future of water for generations to come.

Is the State organizing the efforts of WDRWS?

No. Providers of water - large and small – share the urgency to have enough

water for the citizens they serve. The WDRWS is a non-profit, formed by water systems to address this issue. Its members recognize that no one entity can address this problem alone – working together is the only way to solve the problem. The WDRWS seeks funding from the Federal, State, and local sources to complete a study on the feasibility of the project.

We hope this FAQ can also serve as an invitation to more discussions. We’re excited that more people are joining this conversation. Working to ensure the security of high-quality water for western South Dakota is something that unites us as residents of this great place. If you wish to reach out with a question or concern, visit WDRWS. org/contact. Another way to join the conversation is to become a member of wdrws. Simply mail the ticket below or visit wdrws.org/membership.

a member by filling out this ticket and mailing it to Western Dakota Regional Water System, PO Box 484, Rapid City, SD 57709. You can also join electronically at wdrws.org/membership. Member Information Organization First Last Phone Number Email Address Membership Choice (circle one) Class 1 Member Class 2 Member Associate Member Supporting Individual

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