WDRWS Newsletter Q3 2023

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We are pleased to present you with the second edition of our quarterly Western Dakota Regional Water System (WDRWS) newsletter. This resource is designed to update water systems, as well as City, Tribal, State, and County leaders, on progress and topics associated with the WDRWS. This 2023 Third Quarter Edition features some valuable information about the benefits of long term planning, some important dates to mark on your calendar, and more.


“Timing is critical. If you think you have a need — even if it’s 30 or 40 years down the road or for the next generation or two — get signed up now.
— Gary Drewes, County Commissioner, Pennington County, District 5

Read the full story on page 3.

Annual Meeting Sept 12th Spearfish

Make sure to mark your calendars for the 2023 WDRWS annual meeting.

8:00 am Registration/Coffee

9:00 am Conference on water

Noon Lunch

1:00 pm ... Board Meeting for Class 1 and Class 2 Members of WDRWS

3:00 pm Adjourn

Please note the Annual Meeting is free to attend, but please RSVP to julie.rustan@wdrws.org

Let us know

Attending the WDRWS Annual Meeting is one of the best ways to participate in the conversation surrounding quality and plentiful water in western South Dakota. Stay informed and stay active in this crucial topic by joining us this September.

WHEN: Tuesday, Sept 12th, 2023

WHERE: Spearfish Holiday Inn and Convention Center

We want to make sure that all of our members and interested parties are staying up to date on the latest WDRWS information. Let us know the best way to communicate with you by participating in this poll: URL to come

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Save the Dates

SD Water and Wastewater Conference

Sept 13-15 at Spearfish Holiday Inn (WDRWS Presentation on Sept 14)

SD Municipal League Conference

Oct 3-6 at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center in Rapid City

issue 2 2023

Box Elder — planning for the future

Doug Curry is the Director of Public Works of the city of Box Elder. He is also on the board of WDRWS where he serves as the secretary and treasurer.

Box Elder is a growing community in western South Dakota of approximately 13,000 people. Like the rest of western South Dakota and much of the country, Box Elder is facing a water crisis that is centered around both an extended drought and an unprecedented growth in population.

As Public Works Director, Curry gets a front row seat to the resource challenges and opportunities of his community. In recent years, Box Elder has experienced rapid growth from a variety of sources, and the city’s water supply has kept up. “Box Elder is sitting pretty good right now,” Curry said, “with our three wells, plus a fourth that we just dug.” But Curry and an increasing number of people in western South Dakota have arrived at the realization that future water security is not a guarantee without intentional action. “With a couple of drought years and our regular growth, we’ve already seen that we aren’t going to be able to meet those needs — let alone the growth with the political refugees that we’ve had move to South Dakota.”

But Curry doesn’t necessarily view these challenges as a problem. Rather, he sees them as opportunities. “It’s a wonderful place to be, and I would not be doing my job right as the guy who’s in charge of water for the municipality if I wasn’t looking to the future and saying ‘what if’ and ‘how do we prevent that from happening.’”

Box Elder Stats

Population Served = 13,198 (includes 1 bulk user and 1 large multi-family housing complex)

Accounts Served = 2,541

Water in National News

The state of Arizona recently announced that it would be limiting the construction of some future homes and businesses in order to manage the state’s water needs for the next 100 years.

New subdivisions in Arizona have required developers to compile a 100 year water plan for decades — professionally engineered plans that demonstrate how the new homes and businesses being constructed would have access to water in 100 year’s time — but now a certain selection of new developments won’t be permitted by the state to access groundwater even with a plan. And these projects won’t be permitted to break ground without

that access to water. These extreme measures were done in reaction to the release of a new study that shows that Arizona is about 4% shy of meeting its projected 100 year water plan.

If these developments can access water from alternative sources, they could be permitted to start construction. That’s why some in Arizona are considering a $5 billion project to pipe desalinated ocean water from the Gulf of Mexico to their state.

Source: https://www.nytimes. com/2023/06/09/us/arizona-waterdevelopment-desert.html

Seth Tupper offers his analysis on the water challenges and opportunities of western South Dakota in this opinion piece featured in South Dakota Searchlight from May 4.

Timing is critical

Gary Drewes, the County Commissioner of Pennington County’s District 5, is no stranger to the waters of the Missouri River. He was a City Commissioner and then the Mayor of Pierre before stepping into his leadership role in Pennington County. His close proximity to the Missouri River while living and serving in Pierre has allowed him to be a part of some of the conversations about transporting the water of the Missouri River throughout South Dakota — including some of the conversations around the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System.

Drewes explained that watching the growth of this system that supplies water to southeast South Dakota, northwest Iowa and southeast Minnesota, has been illuminating for him. The initial conversations surrounding the Lewis & Clark System invited water districts from all over the region to discuss their water needs. Some districts chose not to participate, and, over three decades later, are expressing

Become a member

Individuals and water system organizations of any size are able to support the work of WDRWS. The membership and support structure allows a variety of groups to take part in the work of ensuring the water future of western South Dakota. Whether you’re a subdivision, a municipality or an organization who has a stake in our water future, please consider joining.

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

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

regrets that they didn’t take those early steps to be a part of this system.

Drewes views the development of the Lewis & Clark System as source of knowledge when it comes to ensuring the water needs of western South Dakota. “One of my concerns is to make sure that everybody in western South Dakota has the opportunity to sign up and express their interest and their needs for that future water supply,” he said. “Timing is critical. If you think you have a need — even if it’s 30 or 40 years down the road or for the next generation or two — get signed up now. It’s important to do it now.”

This quarter’s Consulting Team. Meet Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch has served water utilities and industrial clients for more than 100 years. With a focus on digital water and data analytics, Black & Veatch helps to drive a coordinated effort across the full spectrum of water services, from repairing aging water infrastructure, preserving, and protecting groundwater and watersheds, providing effective flood control and managing storm drainage. The company is invested in sustainable water use, relying on water reuse technologies to help clients bolster their water supply portfolios.

Brian Lendt, Scott Fronek, and Robert (Bo) Johnston Gary Drewes

PO Box 484

Rapid City, South Dakota 57709

Big Question

How do very small water systems, such as a homeowner or neighborhood association, fit into the WDRWS project? Is this something these smaller systems should be considering?

The intent of the WDRWS is to provide abundant, quality water to western South Dakota. In addition to our municipal, rural, regional, and Tribal water systems, there are currently more than 350 small water systems west of the Missouri River. These small systems range from seasonal venues, such as campgrounds, to individual homeowner associations, to major subdivisions throughout western South Dakota.

The WDRWS is being planned as a bulk water supplier. In other words, we would deliver water to another system, not individual homes or ranches. We encourage systems of all sizes to learn about the project and to use the

WDRWS engagement process to look ahead at individual growth plans and potential water availability.

While ultimate build-out of the WDRWS may include reaching very small systems through other systems, the potential need of every system is welcome in the discussion. We’ve recently had a steady flow of smaller systems become members of WDRWS. Please come to the table and join the discussion. Water supply is a topic that seems to interest almost everyone!

To learn more or to schedule a meeting to discuss the project with WDRWS representatives, visit wdrws.org.

Cheryl Chapman, the Executive Director of WDRWS, talks about how every system in western South Dakota — large and small — is invited to take part in the conversation around water.

Member Information Organization First Last Phone Number Email Address Membership Choice (circle one) Class 1 Member Class 2 Member Associate Member Supporting Individual
Become a member by filling out this ticket and mailing it to Western Dakota
Water System, PO Box 484, Rapid City, SD 57701

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