Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today it is initiating construction on the Mni Wasté Intake Relocation Project, which Senator John Thune helped secure $6 million in emergency funding for. The extension of the Tri County water intake will provide critical relief for 14,000 people in three South Dakota counties.

Since the emergency funding was announced in April, the Army Corps of Engineers has worked with the multi-agency and Tribal team to develop, coordinate and prepare for the project and will be able to award contracts soon.

The emergency funding will be used to begin design on a $6 million temporary solution to address low river level impacts to the water intake for the Mni Waste’ Water System near Eagle Butte, S.D..

“This is a great relief to the thousands of South Dakotans who faced a water shortage this summer,” Thune said. “Thanks to everyone’s hard work to shed light on this crisis, the Army Corps of Engineers is making great progress to solve this crisis.”

Today’s news came after Thune put pressure on the Army Corps of Engineers to address the crisis after extreme drought conditions in South Dakota, Montana, and North Dakota put the Mni Waste’ Water Intake at risk of being unable to pump water from Lake Oahe.

This spring, Thune met with various key Corps officials in Washington DC to stress the critical nature of the Mni Waste’ Water Project and the impact that low water levels are having on the water intake.

The Senator also raised the issue on April 6 with John Paul Woodley, Jr., the President’s nominee to be Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

On March 30, Thune hosted a roundtable in Pierre, SD, to discuss the drought with Army Corps of Engineer officials, and representatives from local governments and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

“This is a case of South Dakotans rallying together to solve a problem,” Thune said. “I’m relieved that we were able to work with the Army Corp of Engineers to avert this crisis.”