Gov. Reynolds to use federal rescue funds to invest in water infrastructure
Water quality initiatives across the state are getting a boost through Iowa’s American Rescue Plan Act dollars. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced on Friday that $38 million dollars will go toward three water infrastructure projects across Iowa.
Facilities in Dyersville, Des Moines and Sioux Center all received grants through Iowa’s Water Infrastructure Fund (WIF) to create or expand on their water systems.
Reynolds said investment in water quality can fuel growth in small communities – like those in western Iowa. She said she believes the projects are necessary to attract new development.
“Dependable and sustainable drinking water is a cornerstone of economic growth and prosperity,” she said at a press conference in Sioux Center. “This is doubly true in rural areas like this one that depend on water intensive agriculture industries.”
Up to $15 million dollars will go toward the Iowa Confluence Water Trails Project in downtown Des Moines. The funds will aim to mitigate the dam on Fleur Drive and create safer water recreation – including a river run on the Raccoon River. Reynolds said the project will create more than 150 jobs and $100 million in increased local revenue.
The Lewis and Clark Regional Water System in Sioux Center will receive up to $12 million in funds to expand their drinking water system. The tri-state system serves 20 rural towns in northwest Iowa, South Dakota and southwest Minnesota.
Reynolds said the grant will work to ensure that all northwest Iowa residents have access to clean water. The system will be expanded to provide an additional 15 million gallons of water per day to its communities’ members. The system’s executive director Troy Larson said this will assist the region after two years of drought.
“We need more water than what the members have reserved. The members had to reserve that water back in 1993,” he said. “The crystal ball is good but not that good.”
Dependable and sustainable drinking water is a cornerstone of economic growth and prosperity.Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds
The chairman of the system Murray Hulstein said the funding will take a huge burden off of the communities they serve. He said the ARPA funding will help offset the more than $100 million the expansion costs.
“We all need the water, but expansion costs directly impact our rates in Sioux Center. And all of or members’ rates for our homes and businesses,” Hulstein said.
The third project will create a water distribution and wastewater collection site in Dyersville, the northeast Iowa town where the famous ‘Field of Dreams’ movie site sits. The state predicts the investment could stimulate $40 million in local tourism revenue.
Reynolds said the additional infrastructure will help showcase Iowa in future events.
“It will allow us to maintain the momentum after the incredible success of last year's major league baseball game,” she said.
The governor said all three of the state’s investments in water quality aim to drive economic growth and attract new developments to the state of Iowa.
“Every time we put our faith and confidence in Iowans in our communities across the state, I can tell you without hesitation they will deliver,” Reynolds said.