Clarke County Reservoir Commission (CCRC) is playing the waiting game while going through the legal process for its Squaw Creek watershed project.
During a Nov. 14 CCRC meeting, Dave Beck, project coordinator for CCRC’s reservoir project, used a Civil War analogy to describe the legal-process period. He described Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the siege at Vicksburg in 1863.
“He (Grant) announced that after a fairly quick campaign through Mississippi, they settled down in front of Vicksburg, Miss., and started a siege. He said, ‘I propose to outcamp them,’” Beck said. “We’re kind of in this ‘outcamping’ stage, I guess. We have to work through the paper and the process. That’s happening. We’re doing our best to make sure everything stays on time.”
There is an ongoing CCRC watershed project that will provide a water supply for Osceola and Southern Iowa Rural Water Association (SIRWA) with an 816-acre lake in Clarke County.
The reservoir project could provide 2.2 million gallons of water per day. The total project cost for the reservoir is estimated at $37.6 million. Funding for the project includes many sources, especially funding from local option sales taxes (LOST).
Right now, CCRC is going through the process of declaratory judgment with the watershed project.
Declaratory judgment is a court review for acquiring land for a public project. It authorizes CCRC to purchase land from voluntary sellers and exercise eminent domain for involuntary sellers within the area of the watershed project.
A court date in Clarke County was set for March 10 to determine if CCRC can authorize declaratory judgment in its watershed project.
Currently, CCRC meets every other month until the court dates with the legal process approach. The next CCRC meeting is scheduled Jan. 9.
However, if an issue arises within that time period, another board meeting could be scheduled.
One reason CCRC is undertaking its reservoir project is West Lake, the current water source for Clarke County and SIRWA, has issues with meeting the needs of the public. This is evident during years of drought, which occurred in 2012 and 2013.
Sandy Kale, CCRC board member who represents Osceola Water Board, said the water level at West Lake is 34 inches below the spillway.