Scholarship Program



Successful Scholarship Applicants & Their Essays

    2012       2013


2012 Scholarship Winners

Brooke Clarke

Essay:  The Importance of Safe Water

Even today there are people that drink contaminated water every day.  Freshwater is something that is a universal necessity.  Without freshwater, we are unable to enjoy many things that we are able to experience in everyday activities. Not to mention that clean water prevents the spread of much disease and sickness; it is vital to human health.  Mid-Dakota water allows our community to have safe drinking water and made it more possible to be healthy.  When I was younger, I remember not having quality drinking water in our community; we always had to have the hassle of water softeners, cloudy drinking water, and the deterioration on our faucets and other appliances in our household.

Mid-Dakota water has given our community many opportunities to benefit us in many areas.  I am a lifeguard and city worker for the City of Wessington where I witness and experience these benefits daily.  Before Mid-Dakota, our pool water was cloudy; it required much more maintenance to keep our facility clean.  Now, with Mid-Dakota, maintenance is minimal and the clarity of the water is fantastic.

Mid-Dakota water has also been beneficial to our livestock production.  Water is the most important consumption of cattle, without quality water consumption, it doesn't matter what types of grass you've got on your pasture, the cattle won't gain more than what the water will allow.  Our cattle have better weight gain and are all around healthier and produce larger qualities of product due to our clean water through Mid-Dakota.

Healthy water is something that our community has been able to gain through Mid-Dakota water.  Thanks to Mid-Dakota our community has been able to thrive economically through our cattle and live healthier life styles.  This is something that is greatly appreciated and will always be greatly appreciated long into the future.


Danielle Knox

Essay:  The Impact of Mid-Dakota Water

Being a farmer/rancher's daughter, I know the importance of water.  It is a necessary aspect for the survival for humans, livestock, and crops.  We drink water, use water to clean ourselves, and use water to clean our clothes.  Mid-Dakota water is softer water than artesian or well water, which improves everyone's lives.

When I was younger, I remember having to drink mineral packed hard water.  Our bath tub turned an orangey color due to the artesian water we had to use.  I didn't think anything of it, but looking back now, boy that tub was orange!  My mom had to get treatments on her hair because her hair turned orangey.  That was due to the iron in the artesian water.  As kids, my brothers and I would drink water straight out of the hose in the yard.  We also used artesian water to wash our clothes.  That water was very hard on our clothes.  There was a grey tinge to our clothing, and they were always grungy looking.  Mid-Dakota has improved our daily needs greatly.  Our tub is no longer orange, and my mom does not have orange hair anymore because of Mid-Dakota.  Our rural community has definitely benefitted from Mid-Dakota as well.

Mid-Dakota has also benefitted farmers like my dad in ways greater than some people can comprehend.  My dad uses Mid-Dakota water to spray his crops.  The algae build up in the tank accumulated faster and there was more of it with the artesian well water.  Now, the algae building up in the tank is a much slower process.  That makes it easier for my dad.  Mid-Dakota water is softer, and has a better effect mixed with the chemicals for spraying.  Many people would not think that sort of change in water would improve so many things!

Mid-Dakota water means a lot to me because of the improvement and impact it has made on many things.  Mid-Dakota is better quality of water.  I would say so anyway.  I cannot imagine going back to artesian well water.


Tarin Hupp

Essay:  Quality on Tap

When you go to the faucet, do you think about the water going into your drinking glass?  Mid-Dakota has been the source of water in our family's faucet since 2005.  Most people don't realize the importance of a reliable supply of quality water and the benefits of rural water.  Our family is one of the 5,500 customers with quality on tap provided by Mid-Dakota.

Water quality is important to human health and animal productivity and can vary a lot.  Looking at a glass of water, you cannot tell much about the quality.  Water quality is impacted by the amount of bacteria, hardness and level of items such as nitrates, sulfates, iron and acidity.  Improper levels of these items can give the water a bad taste, cause health issues to humans and animals, and limit animal growth, reproduction and milk production.  Mid-Dakota water is treated and run through filtration systems to provide a reliable source of quality water for humans and animals.

Rural water provides many benefits compared to well water.  Before we had rural water, our well quit working in January of 1997.  We had no choice but to invest $6,500 in a new well.  Rural water eliminates that cost to customers for individual wells and maintenance.  Electricity was required to have water with our well.  With rural water, we still have water when we don't have electricity.  We didn't like the taste of our well water so we bought water from town to drink and later invested in a reverse osmoses system.  We also needed to use a water softener to reduce the hardness of our well water and the water made our bathtub rusty.  Since receiving rural water we don't use a water softener, our bathtub is not rusty, our water supply is dependable and our water tastes great.  Rural water is a superior water source compared to our well.

Our neighbor, Buzz Kutzler, and family friend, Don Olson, were founding members of the original board of directors for Mid-Dakota.  The directors and many others worked hard to make Mid-Dakota a reality for providing a quality water source originating from the Missouri River.  Our family has benefitted from their dedication to bring quality on tap to our house through Mid-Dakota Rural water.

Benson Kleinschmidt

Essay:  Saved by Mid-Dakota

Mid-Dakota has played a big part of my life in more than one way.  When I was very young my father was able to get Mid-Dakota water piped into one of our pastures in order to water cattle there.  This was in the drought when the stock dams and the creek running through the pasture had dried up.  By allowing us to use Mid-Dakota there, they saved us from selling hundreds of our cows.  It has been a very dependable and clean source of water for our cattle to this very day.  They still prefer drinking out of the tank opposed to drinking out of the other water sources.

Another way that my life has improved was in my house.  An Artesian well was the only form of drinking water we had before.  Believe me it was not very fit for drinking.  It tasted terrible and it did not look very sanitary.  Then Mid-Dakota was able to put a water line into our house.  The water quality was a huge improvement.  After just using it for drinking water we also piped it into our shower and all of the water outlets.  It literally put our old artesian well out of business.  We have also noticed that the Mid-Dakota water is much easier on our pipes and it does not wear out our water softener near as quickly as the artesian well.

Mid-Dakota has improved my life in many ways.  Our family farm has been saved by it and also our house condition has improved tremendously.  Thank you, Mid-Dakota!



2013 Scholarship Winners

Jordan DeBoer

Essay: The Purest of the Pure

Water, it's one of the world's most pure elements.  The first word that comes to a person's mind when they think of the word water is life.  Everyone knows that we humans, along with many other animals on Earth, cannot survive without water.  Our bodies are comprised of about 60% water, our brains are 70% water, and our lungs are amazingly 90% water.  It should come as no surprise that good quality water makes a significant difference in one's health.

As a summertime employee of Mid-Dakota Rural Water, I have a steadfast understanding and have come to terms with the many benefits of rural water such as where Mid-Dakota's water comes from, where it is treated, where it is stored, and how it is all distributed throughout all of Mid-Dakota's boundaries.  I live in Miller, South Dakota, about 70 miles from the Missouri River, which is where Mid-Dakota gets its water from.  Living this far from the river and even farther for some towns is a problem.  Fresh and clean water has not always been around and up until recently in the past twenty years have people been able to get their hands on pure water from a reliable source.  Whether it is the rusty and salty artesian well water or the sometimes very expensive and not always reliable municipal water, finding water was an everyday hassle for most families and communities east of the Missouri River.  Mid-Dakota came along and solved all of these obstacles for a vast majority of eastern South Dakota.  Mid-Dakota lives by the motto "Quality on Tap", and providing the purest water around is what all of Mid-Dakota's employees strive for everyday.  Whether you are in Miller, Huron, or even in Gettysburg or all the way in the small town of Lane, people in these South Dakota communities can rest assured that they are drinking the highest quality of water around.  Rural water provides many benefits over old artesian well water.  Without a doubt, rural water is healthier.  When you are getting a glass of water from the sink or even taking a shower, you can be assured it is safe to drink and use.  Farmers and ranchers also agree.  Making sure their livestock is hydrated and healthy is one of the most important things on their minds.  They can now have a very successful year of raising their livestock thanks to cleaner and accessible water.  As new advancements in water distribution have arisen, water distribution has never been easier to distribute to communities and farms throughout the state.

The arrival of Mid-Dakota water has been a life-changing event for many people in rural communities.  Water is vital for our survival; having an abundant, clean, good quality source of water is incalculable.  People's quality of life has been immeasurably improved thanks to the Mid-Dakota Rural Water System.  Thank you Mid-Dakota Rural Water for supplying reliable, fresh water as well as scholarship funding money for South Dakota scholars.

Johannes Gimbel

Essay: Making A Difference

Mid-Dakota Rural Water arrived at our door step twelve years ago when I was just starting elementary school.  I do remember the five gallon jugs of water my parents hauled from town so we had drinking water other than from our artesian well.  My parents also tell me stories of hauling fifty pound bags of softener salt from town on a regular basis.  The best story is how they had to have a new water heater installed every couple of years because the artesian water destroyed them very quickly.  They are grateful that today our tap water is clear, not cloudy, and doesn't leave our clothing, dishes and appliances rusty orange in color.  When we turn on the tap, we can now expect water that is evaluated on a regular basis and guaranteed to be great tasting and of good quality.  Mid-Dakota Rural Water has made an undeniable difference in life here at Wolf Creek Ranch.  

When Mid-Dakota water became available in our community my parents didn't have to think twice whether or not they wanted to sign up.  They had experienced the challenges of hard water first hand.  Our artesian well water flows over 1600 feet below the surface and tests between 80 to 100 grains of hardness due to the heavy iron content.  The only benefit we found was that our cattle tanks normally did not freeze up in hte middle of winter because the water is 75 degrees warm.  The disadvantage of the warm water is that it grows all kinds of interesting organisms!  Not good when it is in your reverse osmosis tank that supplies your drinking water.

For the past twelve years Mid-Dakota Rural Water has provided us with quality water for our family, our home and our farming/ranching business.  Besides the benefits of having it for our personal use, we have used it to water our garden, our seasonal high tunnel, and our livestock.  Our power washer is regularly parked next to the hydrant and used to clean machinery and vehicles.  The rural water is also used when spraying our fields.

Mid-Dakota Rural Water has truly made a big difference in our life here on the plains of South Dakota.  It ensures us a safe water supply and we know we are consuming and using water that is safe for us and our livestock.  Having quality water is of upmost importance to living and operating a business in our rural community.  We appreciate the hard work of Mid-Dakota which brings us quality on tap!

Matt Halter


Water is a necessity.  Every living thing in the world thrives on water for survival.  I've been lucky enough to never have to worry about having water, or having clean water that I know is safe to drink.  One main reason is because we use Mid-Dakota water.

Using Mid-Dakota water assures their customers that we are getting clean treated water.  Having to drink unsanitary water and water with other chemicals isn't safe or healthy.  Mid-Dakota treats all their water eliminating the chemicals and turning it into high quality water.  I live on a farm in rural Huron that uses well water for the cattle and other animals to drink.  In the house our water had sulfur in it creating an awful odor.  People who came to our home thought it smelled like rotten eggs.  The sulfur when mixed with the air created a sulfuric acid taht would ruin cupboard hinges, jewelry, and many other things.  Seeing this damage created an uneasy feeling about what could be happening to our health.  After getting Mid-Dakota, the smell quit, corrosion stopped, and there was an obvious difference in the taste when drinking the water.  The well water definitely isn't at the standard that Mid-Dakota's is at.

Another benefit of using Mid-Dakota's water is when you lose power in your house, you do not lose water.  People use water for multiple purposes in their house including taking showers, flushing toilets, and cleaning dishes and clothes.  If you lose power you would lose the ability to do those things; however, it is very reassuring to know that with Mid-Dakota you will be able to continue with your daily routine.  My family and I were once without power for a week straight.  It would have been an even more challenging time for us without water.  I am very grateful for Mid-Dakota and all they do to make sure we are never without good clean water.

Having the opportunity to drink and use water every day is a privilege.  Being assured that it is good drinking water is an allowance that should not be taken for granted.  It is something many people take for granted until they are unable to use it, like when the power goes out.  Mid-Dakota provides exceptional service for my family and for all the customers surrounding us.  I would like to personally say thank you for what you do, and thank you for letting us dive into pure water.

Michael Weidenbach

Essay:  What Rural Water Means to Me and My Community

I am fortunate to have had access to Mid-Dakota's Rural Water System.  We have had access to it for many years and I do not remember what it was like to not have it.  I was not old enough to understand the stress that poor water or lack of water caused our family and our ranching operation.

I enjoy the access of a clean and reliable water source that is available in our home, buildings and every pasture tap.  In years when the rainfall is short the access to waer in the pasture tanks is invaluable.  We were thankful that we had pasture taps and flowing water in our grass pastures this past summer when the dugouts were low and the water quality was poor.

Dry years not only cause a shortage of grass but more importantly it compromises the quality of the water that is in the dugouts.  Lack of fresh rain water creates a stale, bacteria ridden water source that can cause cattle to become sick.  The access to Mid-Dakota pasture taps allow us to provide fresh water to our cattle thus eliminating one worry.

The quality of water that we have available in our homes is also an important and valued aspect of the Mid-Dakota Rural Water.  We no longer have to worry about the quality or availability of our water as we did when we relied on well water.  The quality of the well water was ever changing depending on the level of the water table, rainfall, and run off that could potentially contaminate the well.

Like many things in life, we become accustomed to the availability of a valued commodity and we soon forget what it was like before it was available.  This is evident when the electricity goes off or the water stops running!

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