LEWIS & CLARK WATER IS FINALLY COMING TO WORTHINGTON!!
Twenty-seven years after the Lewis & Clark Rural Water System incorporated and seventeen years after the project received its federal authorization from Congress, there is finally “light at the end of the tunnel” for Worthington! Action taken by the Minnesota Legislature in May put the final pieces of funding in place to complete the Minnesota portion of the project and deliver water to Worthington.
In response to the slow pace of promised federal funding for the project, Minnesota stepped up in 2014 with the first of what would be three “federal funding advances” to get the four Minnesota members of L&C connected. Those four members include Rock County Rural Water System, the City of Luverne, Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water System and Worthington. The $22 million advance in 2014 allowed for construction from the Iowa/Minnesota border to Luverne. In 2015, the legislature approved a $19 million advance to allow for construction between Luverne and Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water System’s connection near Adrian. The final funding piece was in place during the 2016 legislative session but, ultimately, the legislature failed to pass a bonding bill. The bill passed in May of this year included the ability to utilize the surplus funds from the $19 million received in 2015 for construction between Adrian and Worthington and also included another $3.5 million that was expected to be needed to complete construction. In total, the State of Minnesota has contributed a total of $44.5 million in funding advances to get the Minnesota members connected! A huge thank you to Sen. Bill Weber, Rep. Rod Hamilton and Governor Mark Dayton for their strong support and hard work in making these funding advances possible! It is fully expected that these advances will ultimately be repaid to the State using future federal funding as the federal government honors the financial commitment to the project that they made in 2000.
The contract to install the pipeline between Adrian and Worthington has already been awarded and some construction activity is expected to occur yet this year. Contracts for the other required major infrastructure (a ground storage reservoir and a meter house) will be awarded soon. After the long wait it is expected that Worthington will begin receiving water from Lewis & Clark by the end of November 2018!