Past Winners

Policy Bulletin 117 - Scholarship Program

Successful Scholarship Applicants & Their Essays

2017 Scholarship Winners

Rachel Husted

Water On The Ranch

Water is a natural resource vital for people everywhere.  The importance of water in our everyday lives is immeasurable and it is just as crucial to have a business who supplies it.  My family has had the pleasure of being a customer of the Mid-Dakota Rural Water System for 17 years.  Mid-Dakota has been a life saver for my family in many different ways.

Our ranch used artesian well water before we were fortunate enough to have Mid-Dakota water.  Well water is not an efficient way to run a ranch and use water in a home at the same time.  Without Mid-Dakota our family had to share water time with our livestock.  If any of our animals were drinking out of their tanks it would lower our home's water pressure.  This would make it so we could not use any water in the house for showers, drinking, toilets, etc.  With Mid-Dakota water we no longer have to plan our daily routines around the livestock's drinking patterns.

With artesian well water, you have a risk of getting sick due to all the minerals contained within the water.  Mid-Dakota's water is clean and does not contain these minerals, which allows the people and animals consuming it to stay healthy.  They also provide their consumers with the knowledge of conservation.  Their website has convenient information about preserving the water supply.  With this useful information we will be able to have water in times of need such as if there was a drought.

Our well stopped flowing water on its own which caused an electric pump to be installed.  A storm can cause us to lose electricity and the ability to get water from the well.  Mid-Dakota allows us to have water whether we have electricity or not which can be life saving.  Now there is no stress of making sure the bath tub is full with water before the storm arrives. 

Mid-Dakota water is vital while living on a ranch.  Not only has this provided clean drinking water but also has helped our pasture rotations.  Without Mid-Dakota we had to rely on well water or stock dams.  During a drought year, stock dams can dry up and cause my family to haul water or be forced not to use a pasture for lack of water.  This directly impacts our pasture rotation and the results can be catastrophic when our ranch is already short of feed for our livestock.  Now, we are able to place a tank in our pasture and operate it off of Mid-Dakota water.  This has allowed us the opportunity to provide our livestock with clean and dependable water no matter the location or type of year.

Mid-Dakota has been an immense help in our everyday lives.  It provides us with the benefit of clean water and dependability.  The company has been an amazing asset to our ranch and I do not believe we could operate properly without Mid-Dakota.


Brook Mallon


My dad has told me the story of how when the talk of a rural water system was being proposed to be coming through the farm, he was so excited with the prospect of having a good clean reliable source for water.  He had grown up with the artesian water and would always complain of how it would always be rusting out the washing machines and leaving such nasty stains on anything it touched, including his teeth.

When the initial payment was made for our house to be put on the list, he said that he didn't think it would take 7 more years of waiting to finally be able to turn on the faucet and know that it would be good clean water.  On a funny note, he was actually deployed in Iraq when the crew showed up to plumb it into the house, so we were actually the ones to get to turn on the faucet first, and then just tell him about it over the phone!  But he was so excited for it to finally be here.  Mom is just happy, as we have had the same washing machine for 19 years.

Dad had them also put in a pasture tap to have "just in case" the dugout went dry.  So he started to use it as a way to rotate the pasture and found that when the gates were opened that the cows would stand in the dugout to cool off and yet would walk 1/4 mile to drink from the tank of Mid Dakota Rural water.  Obviously, they could tell which tasted better too.  So now he has filled in the dugout and is only using the rural water as studies have shown that the calves are having more efficient weight gain with the better water.  He said that there is a big improvement when bottle-feeding baby calves with milk replacer and the Mid Dakota water versus using the artesian water.

It seems odd to say what Mid Dakota Rural water has done for me as I have almost always had it growing up, from what I can remember, (I was only 5 years old when it came).  But from listening to stories from my grandpa and dad, it is a very crucial part of our everyday life.


Max Ring

Keeping the Water Flowing

My name is Max Ring, I am a senior at Highmore-Harrold High School.  My parents and I live in Highmore, and we benefit from having Mid-Dakota water available to our community.  I don't really remember this, but my parents told me how the water was in our town before Mid-Dakota was available.  There was rust in the water, and sometimes it had a weird smell.  Now you don't have to worry about those things.  It is something we probably take for granted, but we are very lucky to have fresh, clean, water that is readily available for drinking, laundry, and showers.

Even though my parents and I live in town, we spend a lot of time at my Grandparent's ranch.  My uncles and cousins run the ranch and they raise corn, wheat, soybeans, and cattle.  Water is a very important part of running a ranch.  The ranch has a well that was the only source of water before Mid-Dakota came along.  Back in those days if you lost power from a summer thunderstorm or a blizzard you were without water because you lost the pump.  This could be very critical when you have a lot of thirsty cattle.  Just like humans, cattle need the right amount of water to stay hydrated, and help with digestion.  Now that they have Mid-Dakota, the water can still flow even when the electricity is off.

June 18, 2014 is a day that no one in my family will ever forget.  That is the day the ranch was devastated by a tornado.  As we drove into the yard it was unbelievable to see the destruction.  It is still painful to think about what it was like as we looked around, most all the buildings gone, or damaged beyond repair.  The cleanup started that very night as the farming community came together to save my Grandparent's house by putting in new rafters and a temporary roof.  The days that followed were hot and humid, with countless volunteers coming to help.  Even though there could be no electricity because of all the damage, we were never without water.  I would not even want to guess how many gallons were consumed in the days and weeks that followed.  Without Mid-Dakota a bad time for our family could have been a lot worse.


Brady Swier

The Lifeline of South Dakota

Mid-Dakota Rural Water System, Inc. brings water and life to the small town of Gettysburg, South Dakota.  We are fortunate enough in Gettysburg to have the big, beautiful, Missouri River just west of town.  Mid-Dakota blesses the citizens here by pumping that gigantic water source into our homes for everyone's ease of use.  With over five million gallons a day being pumped to a number of rural communities in central South Dakota, it remains clear that South Dakotans need their water.

Often times desert communities are built around a water source.  Most of central South Dakota remains around five inches of precipitation away from being considered a desert.  In many cases, water means life.  Obviously, people cannot live without water and neither can our crops or our animals.

Most of the communities that Mid-Dakota Rural Water System, Inc. provides for are not built around a water source.  The services that Mid-Dakota provides, give life to these little communities by bringing the water source to the people.  By using state of the art facilities outside of Pierre and lead free transmission lines, the people of each community that Mid-Dakota serves can be sure that the water they drink is clean and safe for their consumption.  The fluoride added to the water stands as an added benefit to the teeth of the people as well.  This water also eliminates a town's dependence on artesian well water that could contain a high mineral content.

Mid-Dakota Rural Water System, Inc. brings safe, clean water to the people of rural communities across central South Dakota.  This water brings life to our families, crops, pets, and other animals.  For myself, words cannot begin to describe how thankful I am for the services that Mid-Dakota Rural Water System, Inc. provide.




2016 Scholarship Winners

Brandon Haber

Rural Water – Vital to Rural America

I live five miles west of Huron on an acreage.  My whole family has benefited from Mid-Dakota Rural Water.  Water is something we all take for granted.  Every day, sometimes without even realizing it, we use water to go through our daily routine.  From brushing our teeth, to watering the flowers, to giving drinking water to the dog, there are so many times that it is important to have good quality water.

Mid-Dakota Rural Water….where were you the first 7 years of my life.  Wow!  The money my parents would have saved, from the reverse osmosis system that had to be installed when I was born to the tons of softener salt we used.  Then of course there was the iron.  The rust would leave our clothes dingy.  It would stain our bathtubs, sinks, and toilets.  We even had to replace our dishwasher that became stained and corroded from the iron.  My family has been involved with rural water since the early 70’s when my Grandpa was instrumental in establishing a rural water system in the eastern side of the state.  My dad was also involved with putting on informational meetings when Mid-Dakota was just getting started, so when it was available to sign up, my parents jumped at the chance.  It is so much nicer now that we have good clean water from the Mid-Dakota Rural Water System.

Another benefit to my family of having Mid-Dakota Rural Water is that when we have lost electricity from storms, we still have water.  I can recall losing power for more than ten days from an ice storm before we were a part of the Mid-Dakota System.  We practically had to move to town with friends because we could not prepare meals or clean ourselves up.  Luckily it had snowed and we could melt buckets of snow to be able to flush the toilets.

My family and I are so grateful to be a part of the Mid-Dakota Rural Water System.  We can enjoy clean healthy water and know that it is not doing unnecessary damage to our household fixtures, clothes, and appliances.  We don’t know what we would do without it.


Kaitlyn Hague

Benefits of Rural Water 

Hague Ranch has been in my family for many years.  We are a 4th generation ranching operation.  It used to be that you had to keep your cattle where there was water, and you could only live where you could drill a well to get drinking water.  Even with all of this work, the water that you received was often unclean and sometimes unsafe to drink.  The development of rural water changed all of this.  Now we can have clean water almost anywhere, which allows us to accomplish a lot more tasks.

For example it has spread out our grazing distribution between pastures.  This is especially important to me since I live on a ranch.  Now instead of having to keep our cattle where there is water, we are able to transport clean water to pastures in need.  This allows my family to keep cattle on virtually any pasture.  This makes it possible for us to handle larger numbers of cattle, and make the most of all of the land we have.  It also eases our minds, because we do not have to search for natural sources of water, which are often times unclean.  The cattle that now get their water from rural water are healthier, since the water that they are consuming is clean.

Rural water also helps with the economic development of rural towns and cities, because they have a clean source of water to expand on.   We no longer have to live where there is water.  We can live wherever we want.  Rural water allows us to not only have water anywhere, but also to have clean water.  This is not only more pleasant, but healthier.  This helps make rural communities nicer to live in, which helps them expand.

In addition to all of these amazing qualities of Mid-Dakota rural water it also helps create jobs.  The communities where rural water is present they need someone to lay pipe, check water, and run the water systems.  If something breaks down they need someone to fix it.  All of these jobs help bring people into small rural communities, which in turn help boost the economies of rural communities.

These are all reasons why rural communities need Mid-Dakota rural water.  It helps everything from cows to people.  It also boosts their economic development, and jobs.  I can honestly say that our communities would not be where they are at today without rural water.


Nichole Metter

Benefits of Mid-Dakota Rural Water

Water is a valuable resource that is vital for carrying out the activities of our everyday lives.  People all around the world utilize water on a daily basis for drinking, bathing, cooking, cleaning, and many other things.  I feel fortunate to live in an area that has an abundant supply of safe, clean water.  Mid-Dakota Rural Water System provides my family and me with a dependable source of fresh, high-quality water.

The presence of Mid-Dakota Rural Water System in our community has been a great advantage to me and my family.  Living on a farm southeast of Huron, each of us has benefitted from water brought to us by the Mid-Dakota pipeline.  We are able to enjoy a higher quality of life since we began receiving rural water in our home nearly ten years ago.  Rural water benefits our health by removing contaminants during the water treatment process.  Not only does good quality water provided by rural water systems make a positive difference in our health, rural water also provides us with a reliable source of water that tastes good, is safe to drink, makes our laundry look brighter, and allows us to spend less money on cleaning products.  Mid-Dakota ensures us a safe, clean water supply that benefits our health and improves our quality of life.

Knowing that my family and I receive clean, healthy water is a wonderful feeling.  Water is immensely important in carrying out the activities of our daily lives.  I am grateful to Mid-Dakota Rural Water System for providing my family and me access to a reliable and abundant supply of clean, quality water.


Alyssa Stevens

Water-Think Twice!

When you think of drinking water what comes to your mind?  Brownish, toxic water is probably not the first thought that comes to mind.  But sadly, this is the case for people in Flint, Michigan, as their water is tainted with iron and lead.  The town recently made a switch in the water source to save money; did they really know the disastrous consequences?  The contaminated water could lead to dropping of IQs, negative behavioral changes (including criminality), and have multi-generational impacts.  Can you imagine picking up a glass of water knowing that it could possibly be lowering your intelligence and leading you to an earlier death?

How fortunate are we to have access to clean, healthy water through the Mid-Dakota Rural Water System?  I could not picture a life without clean water, and I am aware that my quality of living is greatly increased because of the clean water I have access to.  Clean water is not something I think about every day; it is likely something many of us take for granted.  Although our everyday living is not impacted by tainted water, many people in this world and even our own country are impacted by not having access to clean water.  Clean water is the source for healthy living.  It is the building block of nutrition for all age levels.  The people in Flint are experiencing firsthand what can happen if clean water is no more.  Although the city has switched back to its original water source, the pipes are still lined with lead.  People have already consumed water that might cause health problems for years to come.

As I look at my own family and community, the impact of Mid-Dakota Water will be felt for generations to come.  We live in the country and would need to have a well without the opportunity of Mid-Dakota.  Most likely, my family would need to purchase or filter water to drink.  Our animals would not be as healthy without the quality of water they receive.  Our appliances, clothes, skin, hair-all are impacted by the quality of water that comes to our home.  No one should take advantage of the gift of clean water.  My hope is one day everyone will have the access to the level of quality of water as I do.  Everyone deserves the clean, fresh water that Mid-Dakota Rural Water System offers.