Richland County to Receive $300,000 for Water Infrastructure Improvement Thanks to Tester


In his ongoing efforts to improve and rebuild Montana’s aging water infrastructure, U.S. Senator Jon Tester has made a big splash by helping to procure a $300,000 grant to upgrade water lines in Richland County.

The $300,000 WaterSMART grant-funded by the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation-will help improve the efficiency of the earthen Main Canal in the Sidney Water Users Irrigation District by converting 12,200 feet of canal to a pipeline, reducing seepage and saving more than 1,300 acre feet of water. The $300,000 grant will be matched with $346,116 in non-federal funding for the project.

“Water is the lifeblood of our rural communities,” said Tester. “In many places across our state, waters systems are outdated and wasteful, and investing in critical infrastructure like this is investing in the future of small towns in Montana.”

Through his role on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester helped secure funding for the WaterSMART grant program to help communities conserve water and improve infrastructure. However, the Trump Administration’s FY20 budget proposed cutting the program from $34 million in the last Fiscal Year to just $10 million.

As the only working farmer in the US Senate, Tester continually fights for rural communities. In 2018, Tester worked across the aisle to secure the Water Resources Development Act, which passed the Senate 99-1. Last year, Tester helped pass the 2019 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, which includes much-needed investments to help deliver clean water to communities across Montana.