TEA, S.D. (KCAU) — A water project that has been in progress for the last couple of decades has now been connected to two more communities.

The Lewis and Clark Regional Water System project said in a Thursday release that Sioux Center and Hull, Iowa have been connected to the tri-state water system. Water started flowing in Sioux Center on Tuesday and in Hull on Wednesday. They are the 16th and 17th communities to be connected to the system.

Lewis and Clark Regional Water System is a non-profit working to provide water to member city and water systems in southeast South Dakota, northwest Iowa, and southwest Minnesota. It was incorporated in January 1990, and congressional authorization was signed into law in July 2000. Construction began in 2004 and Lewis & Clark started delivering water in 2012.

Chairman Murray Hulstein of Sioux Center said that the connection to the two Iowa towns is a huge milestone.

“Lewis & Clark’s Articles of Incorporation were signed on January 29, 1990, so Sioux Center waited 12,119 days to get water and one day more for Hull. It took far longer than anyone imagined when the project was started, but it is well worth the wait. The water will ensure continued future growth and expanded economic development opportunities for many decades to come. We far too often take water for granted, but we’re marking this as a monumental day over 33 years in the making,” Hulstein said.

Hull has reserved 400,000 gallons per day, while Sioux Center has reserved 600,000 gallons per day, the release state. When work on expanding the water system’s capacity from 44 million gallons a day is complete, Sioux Center will have access to 949,000 gallons per day and 633,000 gallons per day for Hull. Work on the expansion started in 2022 and es anticipated to be completed by the end of 2031.

There are three members of the regional water system that are currently unconnected. They are Sheldon and Sibley, Iowa, and Madison, South Dakota. Sheldon is anticipated to receive water in late 2023 or early 2024, Madison in mid-2024, and Sibley in late 2024/early 2025.