1978 Sub-district Endorses De-authorization
In January, 1978 the Oahe sub-district board officially asked Congress to de-authorize the Oahe irrigation project. It was an historic request, considering the sub-district had been founded to promote this Bureau of Reclamation project. The Oahe board and the bureau's commissioner, Keith Higginson, had a strained relationship, as the bureau struggled to respect President Carter's desire to reform water policy while advancing its own mission to build large irrigation projects. Pictured here is Commissioner Higginson (second from left) with Oahe board members opposed to the Oahe project. Board members are, l to r: Glenn Overby, John Sieh, and Siegfried Swanhorst.
By early 1978 United Family Farmers and the Oahe sub-district board had cultivated friendly and meaningful relationships in the Carter administration, and were cooperatively examining strategies to mothball the Oahe project. Recognizing serious problems related to the quality and quantity of drinking water in north central South Dakota, an organization promoting a water pipeline from the Missouri River to Aberdeen, with an objective to provide clean drinking water to farmers, ranchers and needy communities along the way had been established. This organization was called WEB, and was named after the home counties –Walworth, Edmonds and Brown- where the drinking water pipeline activists resided. The Oahe sub-district began studying and verifying drinking water problems for municipal and rural residents in the sub-district, and developed a supportive relationship with WEB’s leadership to begin plans to build a water pipeline serving farms, towns and livestock within the sub-district.