Musselshell Judith Rural Water System Project Update

Great West has been working with the Central Montana Regional Water Authority (CMRWA) for over fifteen years to complete a regional water project in central Montana.  The CMRWA is a coalition of eight incorporated communities, several unincorporated communities and many rural families in central Montana with a long legacy of poor water quality and limited quantity.

The CMRWA and Great West have been planning a regional water project called the Musselshell Judith Rural Water System with the goal to provide communities and rural residents in the region with a reliable supply of high quality drinking water from the Madison Aquifer groundwater. The groundwater meets all Primary and Secondary Federal drinking water standards and will require no treatment except chlorination.

City of Roundup – Existing Water Quality

Water System Map with Proposed Phasing

The CMRWA has completed and tested three successful wells in the Madison Aquifer.  The testing proved the high quality and adequate quantity of water available.  The data collected from these wells allowed the CMRWA to obtain 100% of the full water rights needed for the project from the State of Montana.

The project will utilize a 230 mile piping system to deliver water to users.  Once water is pumped out of the proposed wells the entire system will be fed by gravity except one area (Broadview) which requires a small booster pumping station.  The system design is simple yet very efficient for energy use and operations since no treatment plant is required.

The CMRWA obtained federal approval from the US Bureau of Reclamation for the project Feasibility Report in 2014 and obtained federal authorization for its project in December 2020.  The $87 million project is proposed to be funded by a combination of federal (65%), State (17.5%) and local sources (17.5%).

The CMRWA learned in June 2021 that it had received a $11,270,000 funding package from the USDA Rural Development (RD) program which includes $7,360,000 in grant funds and $3,910,000 in low interest loans.  These funds in conjunction with $2,800,000 from the Montana DNRC’s Regional Water Trust Fund provides the necessary funding for completion of the Phase 1 project which will deliver water from the wellfield to Harlowton and rural users along the pipeline route.

The land acquisition, environmental and final design of Phase 1 have all been completed and approved by the State of Montana DEQ.    The Phase 1 project will be bid in late 2021, constructed in 2022 and will be delivering water to Harlowton and rural users by the end of 2022.

The CMRWA has also started initial mapping, environmental and land acquisition work on the Phase 2 project which will deliver water to Roundup.  Funding for this project is currently being pursued through several federal and state sources.

For more information please visit CMRWA’s website at http://www.centralmontanawater.com/ or contact the project engineer, Bob Church, at [email protected].

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