Local water coalition hoping to build pipeline from Stockton Lake to many cities in SW Missouri

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo A coalition of southwest Missouri cities is preparing for a possible water shortage they know is coming.

For eleven years now, the Tri-State Water Resource Coalition has been studying if they can do what Springfield did.

The goal is to pump up the water supply from Mount Vernon to Joplin and several cities along the way.

"We are not running out of water tomorrow, or next week. Here in Springfield, City Utilities has been very for-thoughtful on water planning. In fact 20 some odd years ago they looked ahead as we are doing now and realized we are going to need more surface water. So they built a project from Stockton lake to Springfield." said Gail Melgren, executive director for the Tri-State Water Resource Coalition.

But pumping lake water costs money. A recent estimate put the price of another pipeline to Stockton at one billion dollars. If the coalition can secure federal funding.

Republic as well as other towns, is projecting their community to double by 2040... which will double the water usage.

"An average resident uses about 26 thousand gallons a year. And so when you figure out where we are today we are at about 1.2 million gallons a day. So if you look at what our growth projections are, we are going to need 2.7 million gallons per day by 2040." said David Cameron, the city administrator of Republic.

"We, the water providers of southwest Missouri, have to plan to meet drought. We have to have enough supply so that when we drop perhaps like the record drought of the 50's, we have enough." said Melgren.

The Army Corps of Engineers manages the water in Stockton Lake and will either approve or deny the coalition's plan by 2020.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.