Site C landowners meet with Missouri American Water

After narrowing down more than a dozen other possible locations, Missouri American Water’s proposed reservoir will fall into one of two areas, but the company’s most recent meeting is focused on Site C, where many of the landowners are farmers with businesses at stake.

Shane Dockins purchased this land with his grandparents 15 years ago, intending to raise his family here and grow their farm.

“My wife and I, and grandparents, we’ve worked hard to get this to where it is today and put a lot of time and money into this place and it’s pretty discouraging to think it may all be underwater,” said Dockins.
Dockins has over 300 acres at stake, land where he grows crops and raises cattle to make his living.

“We farm across McDonald and Newton County both, but we base all of our operations right here on this farm,” said Dockins.

Dockins is one of many concerned farmers in the area, feeling uncertain amid MAW’s calls for a 1,500 acre reservoir that would eat up land in Newton County to feed a growing need for water.

“We’re at a point where we don’t have a choice anymore. We have to do something. The water supply that is needed to sustain this area is just at a point where we have to have something additional in terms of source,” said Christie Barnhart, External Affairs Manager with Missouri American Water.

Officials say they are taking all thoughts of landowners into consideration as they move forward with their $300 million project.

“We are investigating every option because on down the line, when we go through the permitting process with the [U.S. Army] Corp, that’s one of the things they hold us accountable for. They have to see and know that we exhausted every avenue possible,” explained Barnhart.

For farmers like Dockins, the future feels unclear.

“They tell us that after they do make the decision of which site they’re gonna go after, that it may take at least another year before they start making offers, so it’s gonna leave a person in limbo not knowing what to do or where to go,” said Dockins.

Missouri American Water plans on finalizing its site for the proposed reservoir before the end of the month.

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