News Release
Release No.STELPRD4015870
ContactVicki Schurman402-437-5563
Belden, Nebraska, Apr 20, 2012 --

@@Nebraska USDA Rural Development Community Programs Director Denise Meeks and staff celebrated the completion of Phase I of the Wau-Col water system with the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (NRD) and area residents, in honor of Earth Day. Financing of close to $2.4 million allowed construction of a regional water system encompassing five rural communities. 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.”

Several rural communities in Northeast Nebraska experienced issues with their water quality (nitrates) and, in some instances, quantity. The common water issues that these communities and rural areas faced necessitated the development of a regional water source. This project involved the collaboration of a number of parties to bring it to fruition, including the Lewis and Clark NRD, Lower Elkhorn NRD, Northeast Nebraska Resource Conservation and Development, Midwest Assistance Program, Nebraska Rural Water Association, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the Villages of Wausa, Coleridge, Belden, Magnet, McLean, and the rural users located adjacent to these communities. The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District took the lead in the formation of the rural regional water system which serves approximately 275 residents.

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 new system consists of two water sources and transmission systems. One water source will be provided by the Village of Coleridge and will supply water to the Village of Belden. This system, Phase I, has been completed and is now operational. The second water source will be provided by the Village of Wausa and will supply water to the Villages of Magnet and McLean and approximately15 rural users. The Village of Wausa’s water source also included the development of a new water storage tank, which not only serves the needs of the regional water system, but also that of the Village. The regional water system will allow these communities to bring their water systems back into compliance with the standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Stan Staab, Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources General Manager said, “This is the type of Federal, State and local project that is very important to our small communities. Providing high quality domestic water to all citizens is vital to sustain Rural Nebraska.”

For additional information contact USDA Rural Development Area Specialist Bill Sheppard at (402) 371-5350 or