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1969 Oahe's Master Contract

Oahe momentum continues (page image)

Representatives of the Oahe Conservancy Sub-district and the federal government agreed to an important and necessary contract at a signing event held in early 1969.  This so-called “master contract” assured the federal government that local taxpayers in the sub-district would assume some of the financial responsibilities associated with building the project, and it also obligated sub-district taxpayers and irrigators to maintain the project’s expansive infrastructure for forty years after project construction was completed

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The master contract also stipulated that legal liabilities associated with operation of the project would be the responsibility of the sub-district, and that water from the Missouri River could be reallocated by the federal government for purposes other than irrigation. The absence of a water guarantee for irrigators was viewed by project critics as a weakness of the project.  Nevertheless, finalizing a master contract between the federal government and the Oahe Sub-district added more momentum for the Oahe project, and marked a major achievement for project supporters.

Oahe momentum continues

The Oahe Conservancy Sub-district and the federal government’s master contract was finalized in early 1969 after six years of negotiations. Pictured at the important contract-signing event held in Aberdeen are, from left to right: Front row: Nelson Hundstad and Fred Holscher, Oahe Sub-district directors; Ken Holum, Department of Interior; Floyd Dominy, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation.  Back row, left to right: Dwayne Kettering, Orville Hill, and John Schwab, Oahe Sub-district directors; Ralph Herseth, former South Dakota Governor; Hans Jessen, former Oahe Sub-district director.