1959 Support for Oahe Irrigation
Governor Ralph Herseth, a Brown County farmer, helped lead the effort to pass a law allowing for the creation of water development (conservancy) districts in South Dakota. The primary goal was to establish a conservancy district to assist development of an irrigation project in the James River valley using Oahe reservoir water.
South Dakota's irrigation promoters celebrated the new law allowing for water district creation, and they prepared for a public vote to create the Oahe Conservancy Sub-district. The new sub-district would encompass 15½ counties in the northeastern part of the state, including the cities of Aberdeen, Pierre and Huron. The entire Oahe irrigation project would be built by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation within the boundaries of the Oahe Conservancy Sub-district.