DIAMOND, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri water utility has chosen a site in a southwestern county to build a water-storage reservoir to address a growing water shortage in the Joplin region.

Missouri American Water recently announced the utility will pursue its reservoir project in Newton County, east of Interstate 49, the Joplin Globe reported.

Missouri American plans to apply for a permit with the Army Corps of Engineers, a process that could take up to two years.

The company considered locations on each side of the interstate in Newton County, but chose the east side because of its topography, lower construction cost and minimal human impact.

The utility estimated that the east site would affect 50 landowners, compared to approximately 100 on the west site.

The company will begin negotiations with landowners in the coming months, said Matt Barnhart, a senior operations manager for Missouri American.

Property owners won’t be forced to move during the permitting process, he said.

“It’s already a hard enough project for them for sure,” he said. “It’s a process that we’ll negotiate, and we’ll negotiate with each property owner when that time will need to be.”

The company notified affected property owners by letter, and said they’ll receive compensation based on the fair market value of their properties.

Mark Renfro found out last week that the chosen reservoir site includes his family’s 70-acre farm near Diamond.

Renfro said the farm has been in his family for 170 years.

“We’re heartbroken,” he said. “I mean, my boys won’t have the opportunity to carry on the family farm. It ends basically with us that’s got it right now.”