Tester Secures over $30 Million for Montana Rural Water Projects

Senator Delivers Resources for Clean Drinking Water Along the Hi-Line

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester secured over $30 million to provide clean, reliable drinking water to families in northcentral and northeastern Montana.

The Bureau of Reclamation funding will support Fort Peck’s Dry Prairie Rural Water Project and the Rocky Boy’s North Central Rural Water Project, which together serve more than 60,000 Montanans.

“Every Montanan needs clean water – it’s that simple,” said Tester, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “These vital resources will build healthier families, stronger farms and ranches, and boost small businesses along the hi-line.”

This funding comes just one month after Tester called on the Bureau of Reclamation to grant the two water projects additional resources.

“Based on [the Bureau’s] own analysis, it could take nearly 50 years to complete outstanding rural water projects. That is far too long for Montanans to wait for access to clean water,” Tester wrote to Brenda Burman, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. “Prioritize these projects and provide the necessary funding to see them through in a timely fashion.”

Tester authored the Authorized Rural Water Projects Completion Act, a bipartisan bill that will invest $80 million annually for the next 20 years to complete the construction of Montana’s rural water projects, as well as $35 million annually for 20 years for enacted and future Indian water rights settlement bills.

Since 1980, 11 rural water projects have been authorized across the western United States to increase access to clean drinking water in rural areas. Today, five of the 11 rural water infrastructure projects are still under construction due to inconsistent funding from the Bureau of Reclamation.