Tester announces investment in Montana water projects

Senator praises assistance to deliver clean water, create jobs

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today announced a major investment in Montana to create jobs and improve the Treasure State’s water infrastructure.

Tester recently secured funding for the Bureau of Reclamation to invest in water infrastructure projects around the country.  He then urged the agency to support the Rocky Boy’s/North Central and the Fort Peck/Dry Prairie rural water systems.

Thanks to Tester’s work, the Ft. Peck/Dry Prairie project will receive $9 million and the Rocky Boy’s/North Central project will receive $3.9 million to deliver clean water across north-central and northeastern Montana.

“This is an investment in Montana’s clean water and economic development,” said Tester.  “Upgrading our water infrastructure will create jobs and pay off for generations to come.  When it comes to infrastructure, we need to make sure rural America does not get the short end of the stick and that’s why I am proud to support this effort."

“This is great news.  We are so grateful to Senator Tester for showing leadership in securing these funds,” said Bruce Sunchild, chairman of the Chippewa Cree Tribe.  “There is no question this would not have happened without his strong support.  In addition to the Rocky Boy’s Reservation, there are 22 participating water systems and rural users in Chouteau, Hill, Liberty, Pondera, Teton, Glacier, and Toole counties in north central Montana who will benefit by this system when it is complete.  This certainly helps get us to that goal.”

Tester has been a steadfast advocate for the two projects since his time in the Montana State Legislature.  According to project managers, the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which Tester supported, created hundreds of jobs on the two projects.  Last year, Tester sharply criticized President Obama for not providing money for the projects in his budget request. 

Below are details on the two projects:

  • The Rocky Boy’s/North Central Montana water project will deliver clean, safe drinking water to more than 50,000 people who live across north-central Montana.  The project will eventually deliver treated water from Lake Elwell to the Chippewa Cree Tribe and 22 public water systems outside the reservation.
  • Fort Peck/Dry Prairie water project is a rural water system that serves the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, as well as Valley, Daniels, Sheridan and Roosevelt counties.  Once completed, the project will deliver treated water from the Missouri River through 3,200 miles of pipeline to 31,000 people in northeast Montana.

Tester also previously pushed Salazar to route unused Recovery Act funds to the Montana projects.