Groundbreaking Held for Enhancements to Meade County’s Rural Water Project

Tammi Schone
South Dakota
Release Date
Jun 24, 2015
Bear Butte Valley Water, Inc. Ground Breaking Group Photo

Last year, Bear Butte Valley Water, Inc., a non-profit corporation, drilled a new deep well as the first step in developing the new rural water system with the assistance of USDA Rural Development.  Today, a ground breaking celebration is being held to commemorate awarding of the bids to complete the entire rural water system including installing 110 miles of pipeline, storage reservoirs and pumping stations.

Acting State Director for Rural Development Bruce Jones joined Jacqueline M. Ponti-Lazaruk, USDA Rural Development Assistant Administrator for the Water and Environmental Program (Washington, DC), to announce additional funding to be provided to Bear Butte Valley Water, Inc. in the amount of $200,000 and a grant of $2,527,000.  Previous funding for the initial new water system included $2,917,000 and a grant of $2,000,000, leveraged with a $1,500,000 grant from the State of South Dakota and $1,092,000 from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services EQIP program to provide water for livestock.   Representatives from the congressional offices, South Dakota Rural Water representatives, local residents, and the engineer were also on site for the groundbreaking activities.

“The federal funding builds on the commitment USDA Rural Development has to ensuring rural residents in Meade County have access to a central rural water supply that will serve their needs.  Enhancing the quality of life by providing safe and adequate water are part of the mission of the USDA programs,” said Jones. 

Neal Rowett, Board President of Bear Butte Valley Water, Inc. and life long resident of the area stated, “This accomplishment is the result of many days, weeks and years of service and perseverance by a dedicated board of directors, along with the help of professional guidance received from our engineering partners and SD Rural Water.  In addition, the project was aided to a great extent by financial assistance received from USDA Rural Development and South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (SDDENR).” He continued, “We appreciate the support of the community for the confidence these people have shown in our efforts.  Bear Butte Valley Water is a community owned, non-profit corporation that will serve its members for many future generations.  It is with great pride that we will be providing drinking water of excellent quality with enough volume and pressure to fulfill the needs of our members.”

Steve Attema, a South Dakota Rural Water representative that has been assisting the local Board members in securing funds for the system, observed, “It has been my pleasure to work with the Bear Butte Valley board of directors and system staff, DGR Engineering, USDA Rural Development and SDDENR, who all put in significant time, energy, commitment and ingenuity to take the idea of improving water quality and availability and making it a reality.  It is exiting to be a part of a project that will bring a great service to the people in the area.” 

USDA Rural Development in South Dakota has offices in Aberdeen, Huron, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Yankton.  For more information, visit the USDA Rural Development website at

The Administration’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. These investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.