OUR VIEW: We will not pay for what is ours alreadyWe naturally are disturbed by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan that would institute charges for water taken via pipeline from the Missouri River.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
The dams along the Missouri River provide us with flood control, hydroelectric power and ample recreational opportunities.
They also provide a good, clean drink of water for thousands of people who live within pipeline distance of the Mighty Mo. That includes quite a few of us in Mitchell and the surrounding region.
So we naturally are disturbed by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan that would institute charges for water taken via pipeline from the Missouri.
The proposal is thus: Institute a storage fee system that would designate some water in the reservoirs as surplus. Users would be required to purchase the water, whereas they now only need an easement from the Corps of Engineers to construct intake pipes.
Naturally, the idea has caused much concern in South Dakota, where the costs would be passed on to customers.
B-Y Water, for example, provides water to the city of Mitchell and other users along its line. The Corps of Engineers’ proposal would likely cost B-Y approximately $1 million annually.
We don’t like the proposal, and we aren’t alone. We, like others, believe states should have the right to do what they want with the water that is stored or flows within their borders.
South Dakota lost more than 500,000 acres of land when the dams were constructed last century, and our residents were promised various irrigation opportunities as a tradeoff. Those opportunities were never developed and therefore never delivered.
We are glad to hear that the state will take this matter to court, if needed. This is worth fighting for.
The Missouri River may originate in the mountains of Montana, but what flows through South Dakota belongs to South Dakotans. We shouldn’t have to pay to slake our thirst with it.