The Dry Prairie Regional Water System took a major step forward Monday, with authorization by the Board of Land Commissioners of three rights-of-way easements across state trust lands, and Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) approval of a $1.4 million regional water grant and a State Revolving Fund loan for $1.7 million.
"This is great news for the people of Northeastern Montana," said Governor Steve Bullock, who serves as Chairman of the Board. "Dry Prairie Rural Water is committed to bringing high-quality, affordable and dependable drinking water to rural communities. It boosts quality of life and creates new economic development opportunities."
The easements allow construction to begin on distribution and service lines that cross state land. A total of 20 easements have been approved to date for Dry Prairie pipeline crossings.
Bullock said the grant and loan will finance construction of the sixth major segment of the regional water system -- approximately 40 miles of pipeline between the towns of Medicine Lake and Plentywood, along with a 300,000 gallon water storage tank.
The project will deliver treated Missouri River water to 50 rural households and the City of Plentywood within 35 square miles, completing approximately 13 percent of the total service area.
"Oil activity has spurred major economic development in Northeast Montana," Bullock said. "This latest phase of the Dry Prairie project means new homes and businesses will benefit from the regional system."
Sandry Construction Company of Big Fork, Mont., was awarded the pipeline construction portion. Work began in October of 2013 and is scheduled for completion in September of 2014.