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Polygamist sect led by Warren Jeffs' brother seeking to expand compound's water system

Published January 2, 2015 4:15 pm

Application • No reason given for why more water is needed.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Pringle, S.D. • A rural housing compound owned by a polygamous sect in southwest South Dakota is seeking to expand its water supply, but it isn't saying why.

Seth Jeffs, brother of imprisoned polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, is seeking a state permit to triple the amount of water the compound near Pringle may draw from the Madison aquifer.

Seth Jeffs submitted the application on behalf of the United Order of South Dakota, the name under which The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owns the compound. He declined to tell the Rapid City Journal the reasons for the application, but said the compound is "not growing right now."

"Just need more water," said Jeffs, who said he does not live at the compound and doesn't know its population.

The water application seeks permission for a third well that would increase allowable water use from 94 gallons per minute to 300 gallons. The compound's 30,000-gallon underground water tank would be replaced with a 250,000-gallon above-ground tank, and existing 4-inch water mains would be replaced with 6- and 8-inch mains.

State analysts are recommending approval of the permit. Anyone who opposes it must submit a petition to the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the applicant by Jan. 12.

Warren Jeffs is serving a life sentence in a Texas prison for a 2011 conviction for sexually assaulting underage girls he considered brides. Members of his FLDS sect, a radical offshoot of mainstream Mormonism, believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven. Polygamy is a legacy of the early teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but the mainstream church and its 15 million members worldwide abandoned the practice more than century ago.






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