Missouri American Water selects site for proposed reservoir

Missouri American Water selects site for proposed reservoir
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Missouri American Water has selected Site C, a portion of land east of I-49, as the final recommendation for the location of a 1,200 to 1,500 acre reservoir.

Back in November, landowners in both Sites B and C were mailed out letters informing them of this selection process.

Site A was ruled out early on for environmental reasons.

Since 2012, though, MAW has come within 12 hours of having to enact mandatory water conservation measures three times, and this reservoir is the company’s solution.

While this decision is a relief for some, it’s a heartache for others.

Marcy Lee’s parents passed away last year, leaving her the home they loved, a place that brings back memories.

“They worked hard to build this, and I look around and I see the fences and the pride that they took in it and so it’s great on one hand and sad on the other, that they’re not here to enjoy it,” said Lee.

Lately, though, Lee is feeling like her parent’s death is almost a blessing in disguise, thankful that they don’t have to live to see the day their land is underwater.

“It really breaks my heart, and it makes me sad too because we’ve considered the idea of keeping this place here and having this be kind of a vacation, or retirement, home for my husband and I,” said Lee.

With Missouri American Water’s decision to build a dam here, though, Lee has opted to sell out to the company when the time comes.

“You know we’ve heard about it for a few months that it was coming, but the reality of it now is hitting and I think people are trying to figure out you know, do they fight it, do they surrender and think it’s a done deal,” questioned Lee.

The $300 million project hinges on permit approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which could take up to two years, but MAW officials say it needs to happen, and soon.

“The aquifer is being depleted at a rate quicker than it’s being recharged. We, as a water provider, have a responsibility to our customers, to the community, to make sure that we do not run out of water, that we have a water supply. We feel very strongly that this is the best option in order to make sure that can happen,” said Christie Barnhart with Missouri American Water.

Lee, feels strongly too, though, especially for the many farmers in the area.

“This is something pretty precious and rare. To think that now this is gonna be gone is really upsetting.”

Officials say that after much research, Site C was chosen because it has a smaller environmental impact.

In the next six to eight weeks, MAW will begin reaching out to landowners for the beginning stages of sale negotiations.

Assuming all goes well, the Joplin water company could begin construction on the reservoir as soon as 2021.