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Rhame residents to get new water supply

Residents of Rhame will be getting a new water supply soon.

Voters in the small Bowman County community on Tuesday approved a new agreement with Southwest Water Authority to receive the political subdivision's water, possibly as soon as this fall, according to the city's auditor.

"Everyone is very excited," said Rhame auditor Margie Russ. "I've only ever heard good things about Southwest Water and I know there are a lot of people excited to get water that isn't brown."

The measure passed by a landslide 63-12 vote and Russ will soon begin work on a 3-plus mile pipeline that will connect an existing SWA supply to the city's water storage unit. With a lot to be done, including the acquisition of a number of easements, Russ said it is possible Rhame residents could get SWA water by November, but the city is more likely to come online sometime in 2014.

The vote came two days before the kickoff of the North Dakota Water Coalition summer meetings in Dickinson, which wrapped up Friday afternoon.

"It really is great news for everybody," said SWA CEO Mary Massad from the conference on Thursday. "We're very excited to have Rhame on board with us and we look forward to providing water to another southwest North Dakota community."

Russ said the total cost of the project is about $350,000 with Bowman County picking up 80 percent of the tab. The remaining funds, she said, were obtained through grants secured by the Roosevelt Custer Regional Council, a sum of $47,000. A town with a population of 170, about half of Rhame's residents turned out for the referendum.

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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