Worthington Still Waiting For Lewis And Clark Water

"I am confident we are going to see water in 2018"

WORTHINGTON, MN. – Even though the 2017 Minnesota legislative session only began a couple of days ago, one small town is intensely watching what way it is going.

On Wednesday, Governor Mark Dayton released his bonding recommendations putting the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System on the top of the list, which is really good news for residents in Worthington.

Even though the 2016 legislative session didn’t go in favor of the town of Worthington, “Unfortunately the bonding bill failed in the waning minutes of the session last May,” explains Worthington Public Utilities Manager Scott Hain, he has new hope that the bonding bill will pass this year.

“I am confident we are going to see water in 2018.”

And that water will be coming from the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System.

Right now, the town’s residents get their water from Lake Bella, which is 7 miles away.

But it isn’t nearly enough, especially when there’s a drought.

“We had essentially a total ban on non-essential water use starting in the summer of 2012,” says Hain.

That meant people weren’t allowed to water their yards, wash their cars or fill up backyard swimming pools.

“Our residents went out and bought rain barrels and they started catching water,” says Hain.

Hain says this spring they were able to lift those water restrictions, but they know a shortage can happen again.

“We weren’t blessed when the glaciers receded.”

This is why they want to tap into the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System.

Last year Luverne received access, and pipeline construction began in Magnolia.

So the next in line is a path from Adrian to Worthington.

“Lewis and Clark’s engineers tell me that if the funding is in place, they will be able to advertise for bids for pipeline installation February, early March of 2017,” says Hain.

The funding is where Governor Mark Dayton’s bonding bill comes into play.

The Governor is pushing for $11.5 million to go toward completing the water system through Worthington.

But this might not happen right away, law makers have until May to decide if they want to pass the bill or not.

Scott Hain says he will be traveling to St. Paul on Tuesday to lobby for the bill.

If the town does connect to the water system, it will bring them an additional 1.9 million gallons of water per day.

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