1979 Governor Janklow Favors Irrigation
Newly elected Governor William Janklow zealously championed South Dakota’s right to Missouri River-based water development. Governor Janklow believed his state’s land sacrifice to Missouri River’s dams and reservoirs obligated the federal government to compensate South Dakota in the form of irrigation and other major water projects, and he worked to first save the entire Oahe project, and later he tried to salvage constructed features of the Oahe project to be used in a highly speculative irrigation project called Cendak.
As President Carter and the Oahe Sub-district continued to weaken the Oahe project and identify alternative water development projects, Governor Janklow and others worked to rescue large-scale irrigation development in the Oahe Sub-district. With that objective in mind, the Governor and other Oahe proponents sought to diminish the authority and influence of the Sub-district board by employing several political and legal strategies, each of which failed. Then the Governor focused on developing a new irrigation concept named Cendak (short for Central Dakota). The Cendak project would utilize features of the Oahe project that had already been started, including the project’s pump house, the Blunt reservoir and the Pierre Canal. As proposed, Cendak would serve lands in the southern area of the Sub-district, where United Family Farmers was less influential. Janklow also supported a plan –called Garrison Extension- to deliver excess and previously used flows (called return flows) from North Dakota’s yet unbuilt Garrison irrigation project down the James River into South Dakota for irrigation. This proposal ignored irrigation’s lack of support in the James River valley, and also ignored scientific study indicating that soils there were unsuitable for irrigation. Interest in this project rightfully faded. Cendak also lacked favorable soil studies and scientific review, and eventually interest in it waned, as well.