Supporters and opponents of Page County’s proposed rural water project hope the Vision Iowa board will decide on their request at its meeting next month. Ernie Aust of Shenandoah says both his town and Clarinda need help ensuring a reliable longterm supply of drinking water, which shallow wells didn’t give them this dry year. Aust says both communities need to upgrade water supplies now and for the future in some way that’s not just a “band-aid approach.” Aust says drought-relief isn’t a goal of the Vision Iowa board, so in their presentation the backers stressed tourism and economic-development aspects of the West Tarkio Reservoir, which would build a lake inside a 47-hundred-acre park in Page County. He says Vision Iowa projects are tourism-centered so they stressed the recreational potential of the park and the lake. The West Tarkio (TARR’-kee-yo) Watershed Reservoir project would buy up about a dozen farms, and some opponents say it’s not worth sacrificing cropland when the money could be used instead to improve wells. Brian Walker is with “Citizens for an Informed Choice,” a group that opposes the plan.Walker says the opponents also went to the Vision Iowa board, to tell of how serious their objections are, and his group thinks it will take some time to resolve the issues. The Vision Iowa board will score the project’s application next, and might make the decision on grant money at its meeting in January. Shenandoah mayor Greg Connell is a member of the Vision Iowa board.
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