How Rapid Creek in the Black Hills links to Rapid City's water supply - and why we must protect it from destructive mining.
Featured on South Dakota Standard - Dr. Lilias Jarding writes:
Mniluzahan (Rapid Creek) is the source of Rapid City’s and Ellsworth Air Force Base’s water supply. It also supplies water for reservations, rural areas, and irrigation systems along its route to the Cheyenne River and eventually the Missouri River. Rapid Creek is critical to the economy, health, and very survival of South Dakota’s second-largest city and other western South Dakota communities.
Some of the water that Rapid City uses flows directly down the Creek and into a City water treatment plant. At the plant, it receives treatment and is piped out to the community. Other water takes a detour – it comes down the Creek as far as Dark Canyon, just west of town. It then drops through the open rock layers at the bottom of the Creek and flows into underground aquifers. (Think of an aquifer as a giant underground lake that flows.) The two aquifers the water flows into are called the Madison aquifer and the Minnelusa aquifer. The City has wells drilled into these aquifers, which then pump the water back to the surface for residents to use. (See Drawing above)
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