Editorial: Oglala Sioux Tribe still waiting on water

"Sen. Tim Johnson and Sen. John Thune this week introduced the Mni Wiconi Rural Water System Supply Extension Act to ensure the project is completed in the next five years.

In the middle of the wealthiest nation on earth, South Dakotans shouldn’t be forced to drink bad-tasting, inadequate groundwater from unsafe wells or to haul potable water long distances. These are infrastructure limitations that 99 percent of the residents in the U.S. haven’t had to deal with in the last 75 years, Johnson said. Neither should the residents of the Oglala Sioux Nation, many of whom are still waiting for Missouri River water to arrive at their kitchen sinks.

First funded in 1998, the Mni Wiconi system that brings clean river water westward to thousands of homes is now 70 percent complete. The federal and state government have already invested $326 million on the pipeline, which will serve approximately 51,000 people in an area roughly the size of Connecticut when it is finished.

But authorization for its funding expires at the end of 2008. About $120 million remains in federal appropriations for the project, or about $20 million annually for construction through 2013, the new target completion date.

This re-authorization bill gives Mni Wiconi some needed breathing room. We urge the Democrat-controlled Congress to extend the project and to move quickly to pass the necessary appropriation bill to complete it."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Mni Wiconi needs more time (The Rapid City Journal 11/2)

Another Story:
S.D. senators back bill to finish water project (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 11/1)

Mni Wiconi Rural Water System Supply Extension Act:
S.2269 | H.R.4028

Related Stories:
South Dakota water project gets extra funds (3/20)
South Dakota Indians praise Sen. Johnson's work (12/15)
Reservation water project seeks more funds (5/26)
Pine Ridge Reservation awaits water system hookup (11/16)
Editorial: Bush budget cuts 'unacceptable' (2/11)
Bush budget cuts funds for S.D. water project (2/7)
Reservation water project extended (11/21)