After 26 Years, Luverne Connected To Lewis & Clark Water System

Residents of Luverne had something to celebrate Monday. After a 26 year wait, the town is now the 13th member connected to the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System.

Construction on the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System began in 2003, but bringing water to parts of South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota was on the minds of many long before.

For more than two decades, Red Arndt has been on the Minnesota Board of Directors and is the only original member. It’s estimated that he has made more than 50 trips to Washington and 50 to St. Paul lobbying for support.

Arndt said, “We’d come down the hall and they would say here come the water boys.”

In June of last year, the Minnesota legislature approved a $373 million Bonding Bill that included a $19 million “federal funding advance” for the Lewis & Clark project in the state.
“In the early years we would have the bill introduced and never acted upon, different things in Minnesota that never got done and then never happened so it was really a tough road of hope but we are here and we are getting water,” said Arndt.

After years of fighting, it has finally made it’s way to Luverne.

Lewis and Clark Regional Water System Executive Director Troy Larson said, “You’ll see it’s not very remarkable. It’s pretty ordinary. In fact, because it’s tucked away from public view, to save money we removed the aesthetic features that are on our other meter buildings.”

Larson says while it doesn’t look like much, it means a great deal to the town. It means they have access to 821,000 gallons of water a day. And Arndt got the first taste.

The pipeline is now 67 percent complete. The project has enough funding to get within 73 percent in the next year. Seven more members are still waiting to be connected including Pipestone and Worthington.