PIERRE – The Southern Black Hills Water System got a green light Thursday to shift a well site about six miles.

The state Water Management Board granted approval. The site would still draw water from the Madison aquifer.

The move shouldn’t adversely affect Beaver Creek Spring, said Adam Mathiowetz, a water rights engineer for the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Ev Hoyt, a state board member from Rapid City, praised the change for that reason.

“I think it gives additional protection to Beaver Creek Spring and those ranchers who have been down there since the 1880s,” Hoyt said.

Matt Naasz, an attorney representing Southern Hills, said results of pump tests were shared with officials from the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service.

Neither the federal agencies nor any other person or group intervened.

Beaver Creek flows through Wind Cave National Park.

The water system serves customers in Fall River, Custer and Pennington counties. The new well site is about five miles north of Hot Springs.

A state report noted, “There has been a history of disagreement in the area regarding the development of the Madison aquifer in the southern Black Hills area for use by rural water systems.”

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