Past Winners

Policy Bulletin 117 - Scholarship Program

Successful Scholarship Applicants & Their Essays

2021 Scholarship Winners

What Rural Water Means to Me by Landon Severson

Over the years rural water systems have become increasingly popular in our area. Previously, families had to use water from Artesian wells and often times that meant hauling water to various places such as shops, barns, and houses. With the addition of rural water systems to our area, we have been able to improve our quality of life and increase the efficiency of our farming and ranching operation. Having good, quality water to use in our house is certainly a plus as well as being able to get our spray trailer loaded quickly so we can get out and get the acres covered. A third way that we use the rural water system to our advantage is with our cattle. We finish anywhere between 600-900 head of cattle every year, and the summer heat always causes us problems. We started running water from the rural water system to tanks for them rather than well water and it helped to cool them and reduce our losses to heat. Ease, efficiency and cost reduction are all ways that the rural water system has benefitted our operation as well as many others in the area. Another advantage to the rural water system is that the water is more safe and clean than water from wells. In my eyes, there are not many disadvantages to the rural water system. It has helped us prevent losses and save money as well as speed up our spraying process and allow us to easily wash equipment as our shop. Overall the rural water system is a gift to those of us out in the country, and it sure beats having to haul water everywhere to get jobs done.  


Mid-Dakota Rural Water Systems and my Family’s Farm by Josie Mehling

My family’s farm has been operating for generations. That being said, Mid-Dakota changed my family’s lives for the better when they started their services.

Mid-Dakota ensures that fresh, clean water is economically available to pastures and farms that would otherwise not be able to afford or access water sources. Prior to Mid-Dakota Rural Water, my family had to depend on dugouts and stock dams, two sources that heavily rely on rainfall, to hydrate our livestock. There were many times that our pastures were not utilized due to the water sources being dried up. Now, with Mid-Dakota, we are able to keep livestock in our pastures without worrying if they will have water. We now know that we can depend on them to get water our to our pastures, even in a drought.

Just over the last couple of years, the well that was supplying water to our watering tanks in our lots started to dry up. We immediately thought of Mid-Dakota and knew we needed to get these tanks connected before our cattle were let without water. Without hesitation, the hookups were installed and my family was assured that our cattle would have access to water – even when the well would eventually dry up.

Not only do we have rural water in our pastures, we also have it in our houses and barns. During calving season, it is not unusual for us to have a few bottle calves in our barn. Thanks to Mid-Dakota, I know I am feeding my calves with fresh, clean water that will not make them sick. I no longer worry about any contaminates that would otherwise be in my calves’ bottles.

My family and I are so grateful for access to rural water. Now that I have seen all the benefits of clean, rural water, I cannot imagine ever going back. Thank you, Mid-Dakota Rural Water Systems!


Mid-Dakota Water Gave Me a HOME by Jayden Mutchelknaus

 Before I was born, my parents bought an abandon property out in the country, north of Wolsey, SD.  It was not livable other than by some racoons, pigeons, and miscellaneous rodents. It was once a gas station and bus stop constructed out of concrete block back in the early 1950’s.  It was built to last, but over the years had been ‘left for dead’.  It needed lots of things, like windows, insulation, plumbing, electrical, roofing, siding, trees, fences, barns, etc.  But more important than any of that, to be useable…it needed water. 

The property would not have been useful for people or animals if it didn’t have water.  Even planting trees for wind protection and grass for grazing would have been difficult on the dry years without rain. What would we drink, how would we cook, do laundry, wash dishes, or put out a fire? Lucky for us, Mid-Dakota Rural Water was taking new customers at that time and it made the list for a rural water tap.

That was over 20 years ago. With dedication and hard work, the abandon property eventually became the home where I was raised. It’s not like everyone else’s house that I know, but it’s a really cool place to live. As the song goes, I left my mark on it and it left its mark on me. Who knows, maybe someday I will own it and my kids will be raised there too. Either way, I am thankful for Mid-Dakota for bringing water to Wolsey and giving me a great place to grow up.


Mid-Dakota Rural Water System’s Impact on My Family and Community by Malia Schumacher

Having lived in western Hughes County for most of my life, I have always depended on water from Mid-Dakota Rural Water System. My parents, however, did not. When my parents were newly married, they moved out of the county. Mid-Dakota Rural Water System was not available in western Hughes County at the time, so they had to use well water. My parents found using well water difficult as the minerals in it made it smell bad and it would rust things. My mom remembers that over time, she noticed that the bathtub, dishwasher, and even the siding of their house started to turn an orange, rusty color from the well water. She also mentioned that when my older sister was born, she had to add fluoride to her drinking water since the well water was untreated. These problems that well water posed cased a lot of frustration for my parents.

Several years later, Mid-Dakota Rural Water System placed a water line nearby and parents eagerly took the opportunity to get connected. When they started using Mid-Dakota water, my parents realized that is caused little mineral buildup or corrosion compared to well water. Additionally, the taste of water greatly improved. My parents loved it’s clean, refreshing taste. They felt safe drinking it, knowing the contents in the water and that Mid-Dakota treats it properly to ensure its quality. They also knew that with Mid-Dakota Rural Water System, they could still have access to water even if the electricity was out.

My parents are not the only ones in my community who have appreciated the improved quality of water from Mid-Dakota Rural Water System. Just recently, in the obituary of our elderly neighbor who has lived in western Hughes County for over 60 years, it noted that living on a farm with only well water was challenging for her. She loved tress, but she struggled to water and nurture them with the harsh well water. She was extremely grateful when Mid0Dakota Rural Water System came to the farm because “she not only could nurture trees but also began a passion for growing watermelons which she loved to give to family and neighbors.”

Hearing about these positive impacts Mid-Dakota water has had on my community made me realize how fortunate I am to have access to it. I am so thankful that Mid-Dakota Rural Water System has offered clean, dependable water for over twenty years to families in my community. Mid-Dakota Rural Water System makes it possible for more families to enjoy rural living, allowing communities to grow and prosper.


2020 Scholarship Winners

How Mid-Dakota Rural Water Benefits my Family by Bailey Binger

Mid-Dakota Rural Water has been such an asset to our family in two very beneficial ways.  We are very thankful to have rural water for our household and for our livestock.  It has been so nice to have high quality water for my family.  Before we hooked up to Mid-Dakota Rural Water, my family had a surface well that supplied our water.  My family was concerned about the contaminates that were in the well water.  They also had trouble with so much iron in the water, it would leave rust colored stains on the sinks and bathtubs.  Who knows how unhealthy that water really was.  Now that we have Mid-Dakota Rural Water, my family has good, clean, contaminant free water.  We now have safe water to drink, reliable water for cooking, clean water for good hygiene and high-quality water for overall good health!

Our livestock have also been lucky to benefit from Mid-Dakota Rural Water.  They now have a tank full of clear, fresh water that is available to them whenever they need it!  It is so much healthier for them.  We have seen the difference in the cattle that have rural water versus just a stock dam to drink from.  The cattle that only have a stock dam, have to drink water that may be stale, muddy, murky or contaminated with chemical runoffs.  The cattle that have Mid-Dakota Rural Water, seem to drink more.  When they drink more, they eat more!  The cattle gain more weight and are healthier than the cattle that have to drink from a stock dam only.  The worst-case scenario with a stock dam, is that it could run dry and the cattle would have no water to drink at all.

Mid-Dakota Rural Water has benefited me and my family in a substantial way.  It has provided good, clean water to our household and for our livestock.  Having high quality water is essential when it comes to keeping us healthy and our animals healthy.  Thank you Mid-Dakota Rural Water, for providing such good water!


What Rural Water and Mid-Dakota Have Meant to Me by Sydney Jessen

Several years ago, the news was full of water quality issues in Flint, Michigan.  Not having quality drinking water that you can trust is safe for you and your family to drink must be a very difficult situation.  However, many people in the world are in exactly that situation and have to boil water for it to be safe to drink or worry about what they are consuming when they drink a glass of water or cook with it.

My mom talks about her childhood north of Ree Heights when they had well water at her home.  She knew it had a funny taste and color but didn't really know how bad the water was until she went to college and had different water for a while.  When she would come back home, she often got sick about a day after she returned and she always thought it was because of the water quality.

When rural water started in the area, many small towns and rural families were starting to have trouble with their water supply.  My parents say many rural people were used to having wells.  As a result, some rural families were skeptical of the rural water concept at first and thought having to pay for water was somehow un-American.  However, my mom and dad's family both saw the option of rural water to be a good one and signed their family homes and farms up when Mid-Dakota was burying its water lines.  Then when my parents decided to build our home north of Ree Heights, we were able to get an addition to the line added so we could have Mid-Dakota at our home too.  They both say that it was so nice to not have the expense of digging a well and the water quality was so much better.

Now that I have Mid-Dakota water at my home, I couldn't imagine not having it.  I know the water quality is good and don't have to think about whether the water we are drinking is safe.  My parents would never want to go back to drinking well water and are both so thankful to have Mid-Dakota water in our home and as a business in our community.  I love having Mid-Dakota water and hope that the rural water business continues for many generations to come.


My Grandma loves Mid-Dakota Rural Water by Erin Moncur

My grandma and  grandpa's farm has an older well that did not pump very fast when we were trying to water the livestock, water the garden, or use water in the house.  The water was also a little rusty looking and did not taste all that great either.  There was also the issue of maintenance of the well.  There were times when the well pump would quit or the well would plug up and the repair company may not get to the farm for several days.  Not having any water for that period meant hauling water for the livestock and for household use, so when the rural water was coming to the area, my grandma and grandpa were excited to have the opportunity to have rural water at their farm.  My grandparents signed up at the first opportunity that Mid-Dakota offered.  The rural water system provides quality water in sufficient quantity with dependable service.  Mid-Dakota has been a great benefit for my grandma now that my grandpa has passed away.  She no longer has to worry about the well working every day or finding someone to do maintenance on the well.

My grandma's farm benefits in many ways by being connected to a reliable and secure rural water system, such as improved water quality that is not exposed to contaminants through surface runoff, this water is healthier for livestock and human consumption.  Better quality of water is really nice for washing clothes as the water is softer and you no longer have to worry about the rust from the well water.  Also the usable life of home appliances, such as hot water services and washing machines, is generally extended due to reduced impurities in the water.  Having rural water on their property may also help bring greater value to their property.  Two summers ago my grandma added a water line to her pastures, which again has been a huge benefit to her farm.  The pasture tanks will water all her pasture land which makes her no longer dependent on the pasture dugouts for water.

Mid-Dakota has been a great help in my grandma's everyday life.  It provides the benefit of clean water and dependability.  Mid-Dakota Rural Water has been an amazing asset to her farm.


Mid Dakota Rural Water by Maria Noyes

Rural water has been one of the best things about moving into the country.  My family moved out in the country about 4 years ago after living in town for several years.  I love the taste of rural water and have a hard time drinking "town" water now.  

Before moving out to the country, my family planted a tree belt on our land.  At that time, we did not have a hydrant out on our land, and we had to haul water in a 200-gallon tank in order to keep the trees watered.  It took about 6 or 7 trips into town to fill the tank with water to water the trees.  The first summer the trees were planted was hot and dry, so we were watering the trees at least once a week.  This took almost a full day to haul the water each time we watered the trees.  The next summer we had the water lines and a couple of hydrants put in by Mid-Dakota Water.  My family put in irrigation drip lines to the trees and this made a huge difference in the amount of time for watering.  All we had to do now was to walk out to the hydrant and lift the handle.  I am very thankful for having the fresh, clean water available to use for irrigation and just for daily use in our house.  I know this is a very small picture of how rural water is important to our community, but it has made a huge difference for our family.