University researchers and a local water development board have teamed up to survey the prospect of channeling Missouri River water to Rapid City and western Pennington County.
Four staff members and three students at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology have piloted the study. The West Dakota Water Development District subsidized their effort with a $37,341 contract. Nathan Gjovik, a West Dakota Water Development District board member, described the study as crucial to the future of the Rapid City region. The district has held a future-use license to extract up to 10,000 acre-feet of water per year, equal to more than 3 billion gallons, from the Missouri River since 1976. The permit has never been used for a water project, but the district has renewed the permit every seven years, most recently in 2017.