SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — A billion dollars is likely the price tag to pump up water supplies throughout Southwest Missouri.
Nearly a dozen cities along with a few counties and companies banding together to build water supply.
It’s not a small problem – they’re estimating a need of 40 or 50 million gallons a day for the region.
Mike Tebow of Mt. Vernon said, “I expect when I turn on the tap, for water to come through it.”
Tebow knows that the need for water is outgrowing local supply.
“I’ve been hearing that for quite a few years.”
A plan to fix that is starting to take shape.
Cities like Joplin and Carthage are working with counties and private companies through the Tri-State Water Resource Coalition to solve the problem.
Gail Melgren of Tri-State Water said, “A potential pipeline that would run from Stockton Lake to Springfield, around to different community, down to Joplin.”
An estimated 140 miles of pipeline, with a cost topping one billion dollars.
“It could go up or down tens of millions even.”
A study is underway, with the US Army Corps of Engineers evaluating storage of 39 million gallons from Stockton Lake to the coalition.
“We have a demand of 54 million gallons a day, so Stockton won’t meet all need to 2060.”
If approved, a construction plan would still have to be finalized.
Along with that is the cost to each city, company, and resident.
“Boy they worry about cost they worry about rates and worry about what rate increases might do to customers especially for those who it’s hard to pay.”
The Tri-State Water Resource Coalition has been working on the problem since 2003 – and they don’t expect a fix in the next month or year.
They’re working on a water rate study they hope to complete next spring, and hopefully an answer about water from Stockton Lake in the next year or two.