Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune helped secure $6 million in emergency funding for an extension of the Tri County water intake, providing critical relief for 14,000 people in three South Dakota counties, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today.

The emergency funding was announced by the Army Corps of Engineers in a detailed Project Informational Report (PIR) regarding what steps need to be taken by the Corps to ensure that the water intake does not run dry due to the multi-year drought that has caused drastic reductions in water levels on the Missouri River.

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 doing the right thing.”

The report comes 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.

In the last month, 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.”