A number of factors drive the need for additional regional water supply including rapid population growth, cyclical drought, increased population densities in cities, economic competitiveness and aquifer sustainability.
Finding solutions to securing additional regional water supply is a big goal; one that will require long-term planning and the collaboration of many stakeholders. Other parts of the State and the country are taking a regional water supply approach and building additional regional infrastructure to meet the water supply needs of their member communities. In southwest Missouri, Tri-State Water Resource Coalition is leading a pro-active effort to secure adequate, affordable water supplies for the future prosperity of our region.
Defining and Securing Additional Sources of Water
Tri-State Water has engaged in a series of research studies to better understand the water resources of our region and to define potential additional sources of water supply.
Building upon this strong foundation of research, Tri-State Water has defined three existing impoundments – Stockton Lake, Table Rock Lake, and Pomme de Terre Lake as priority options for additional water supply.
Tri-State Water continues to work with the Corps of Engineers, state and federal agencies, regional legislators and leaders, and with our congressional delegation (senators and representatives), to navigate the complex series of steps required to receive water from these existing impoundments.
Though Tri-State Water has defined several possible sites for new reservoirs to serve the region, no plans have been made by the Board of Directors of Tri-State Water regarding new impoundments. Instead, acquiring water from these existing impoundments is the board’s priority. Our individual members may pursue additional water projects to serve the needs of their individual communities but Tri-State Water is focused on additional water supply from Corps of Engineers Impoundments.
Educating Our Region about Water Supply Challenges and Solutions
Tri-State Water sees education about water supply issues as core to its mission. To that end it has sponsored several educational efforts.
- Missouri State University and Tri-State Water have co-sponsored an annual fall water conference since 2008 about water supply issues. Keynote speakers from around the country have addressed the crowd. Participants from several states attend. Agendas include content about a wide variety of water related topics.
- Tri-State Water is available to speak to groups interested in learning more about issues related to water supply.
- Tri-State Water commissioned a Citizen Water Supply and Usage survey in 2018. The survey was done to improve our understanding of how citizens perceive water supply issues. The report is based on 3,287 surveys conducted in 104 communities throughout our 16-county footprint.
Tri-State Water Coalition has worked collaboratively with our southwest Missouri member communities, the Corps of Engineers, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and engaged several engineering firms, to develop the foundation of information needed to evaluate current and future supply, current and future demand, regional gaps to 2060, potential future water supply sources, reallocation requirements, conservation scenarios, current infrastructure capacities, future infrastructure needs and potential transmission routes, rate impacts, economic drivers, and planning level costs. A series of technical studies are complete, and others are ongoing. See the research tab for more information.
Preparing for Future Projects
Tri-State Water Coalition was founded in 2003 as a nonprofit (501c4) corporation. Once Tri-State has secured an additional water supply source, additional infrastructure will be needed to deliver that water to regional communities. For that purpose, Tri-State Water developed the Southwest Missouri Joint Municipal Water Utility Commission (SWMO Regional Water).
SWMO Regional Water is now a separate organization with its own board of directors and separate finances. The Commission and the Coalition are legally separate but share companion goals. Tri-State Water’s primary goal is to acquire additional water supply for southwest Missouri, as well as provide education and advocacy regarding water supply issues. SWMO Regional Water’s primary goal is to build one or more infrastructure projects to deliver that water to regional communities.
Fulfilling our Mission
Tri-State Water Resource Coalition’s mission is to secure adequate, affordable regional water supplies to help support a prosperous future for southwest Missouri communities for the next generation. The challenges are significant, the solutions are limited, complicated and expensive, but with persistence, hard work, and the support of our regional communities, along with support from agency and elected officials at all levels, we can develop the kind of long-term water supply and infrastructure that will help sustain prosperity and quality of life of our region for many years to come.