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Letter: Lewis & Clark vital to region's future

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opinion Worthington, 56187
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

By District 22 Sen. Bill Weber, R-Luverne

Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to State Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, chair of the Senate Capital Investment Committee.

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As a former mayor of Luverne, I wish to address the need and importance of ensuring the completion of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System.

During my years as mayor, I testified twice at U.S. Senate hearings on behalf of the project. Many people in Washington, D.C., and even in St. Paul had difficulty understanding the need for such a system in southwestern Minnesota. While we may be the land of 10,000 lakes, it does not mean that good water is plentiful or even available everywhere in the state.

I grew up eight miles southwest of Luverne and five miles north of the Minnesota/Iowa state line. Farm wells in the area varied greatly with some reaching depths of 600 to 900 feet. Much of this water was so hard, it would have taken multiple water softeners to treat the water for house use. Some farms could not raise baby pigs due to water quality.

At the time I was mayor, the city of Luverne — a city of approximately 4,700 people — had more than 20 wells to provide their water supply. The best of these produced roughly 300 gallons per minute, and most produced slightly over 100 gallon per minute. This is not a high-producing well output when you consider that a center pivot irrigator on 160 acres will require a well producing 800 to 1,000 gallons per minute. In addition, the higher-producing wells contain high levels of iron and manganese and are expensive waters to treat. My home area is only one of many areas in southwest Minnesota where water is an issue.

Completion of this water system is vital to future agricultural, industrial and population growth in a large portion of southwest Minnesota. As the state senator for this area, I urge you to seriously consider the bonding request for this project.

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