In 2006, Midwest Assistance Program (MAP), the Midwest RCAP, staffer Harold Reynolds became involved with a project that would become the WAU-COL Regional Water System. The Wausa and Coleridge (WAU-COL) project area in northeast Nebraska had several small villages with either a quantity or quality problem with their drinking water. Wausa and Coleridge had a sufficient source of good-quality water that could provide enough water to supply the six villages and themselves. MAP staff, USDA-RD, Northeast Nebraska RC&D, Nebraska Health and Human Services and the Natural Resource Districts in the area formed an advisory coalition to assist the communities in forming the district. The scope of the project included the development of a new water source for the communities of Magnet, McLean, Belden, and approximately 15 rural users. The project was approved, and USDA-RD provided funding.
Six years and nearly $2.4 million later, the first phase of the project was completed and was marked by a celebration on Earth Day (April 20) 2012. Nebraska USDA Rural Development Community Programs Director Denise Meeks and staff celebrated the completion with the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District and area residents. Special recognition was given to those who were instrumental to the project as they each signed a segment of water pipe.
“Rural Development is pleased to assist in this regional water system,” said Meeks. “The new system will ensure that quality water will be available to Belden, Magnet, McLean and the rural users for the long term. Clean, safe drinking water is a priority of USDA Rural Development.”
Going forward, Reynolds will continue to assist with monitoring and inspection of construction and change orders, and help develop a set of rules and regulations for the system. The project is still on schedule to be finished by the end of June or July 2012.