Senators fought for funding for rural water projects
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith released the following statements after Worthington in southwestern Minnesota became the latest city to be connected to clean water through the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System.
“The Lewis and Clark pipeline is critical to delivering reliable, clean water to farmers, businesses, and families in Southwestern Minnesota,” Klobuchar said. “So many people have been working on this project for years and this is an exciting step forward for the community.”
“The Lewis & Clark project is essential to supply clean drinking water to rural communities, and it’s a proven job-creator,” Smith said. “This milestone illustrates what can happen when state partners and the federal government come together, get to work, and deliver for the good of businesses, families, and communities.”
Last year, Klobuchar urged the Secretary of the Interior, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Senate Appropriations Committee to support the Lewis and Clark project. Without proper funding, the project’s construction will be delayed—leaving many Minnesotans without access to reliable clean water systems. Klobuchar-backed legislation was signed into law in 2018 that increased funding for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Rural Water Program, which provides funding to the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System. She led a tri-delegation letter to Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke advocating for strong funding to ensure that construction continues and communities have access to secure, reliable clean water. Last April, Klobuchar met with Worthington city officials, local business leaders, and representatives from Lewis & Clark to discuss progress on the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System.
As the Senate worked on the last year’s federal spending bill, Smith fought to prioritize Minnesota’s families, seniors, and rural communities. She called on leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide strong funding for programs that support the health, education, safety, and prosperity of Minnesotans. One of these projects Smith highlighted is the Lewis & Clark project in Minnesota, which connects many water-scarce communities in southwestern Minnesota with clean water diverted from the Missouri River. Smith made clear that Minnesota partners—including the state government—have already paid 100 percent of their share of the project, and said that the federal government must also pay back the state for the additional funds it has expended on the project because of delayed federal payments.