Scholarship Program



Successful Scholarship Applicants & Their Essays

    2014       2013


2014 Scholarship Winners

Jecelyn McKayla Wehde

Essay:  The Importance of Mid-Dakota Water

Mid-Dakota has been a very important aspect of my life growing up.  I live two miles south of Huron.  My parents, along with my younger brother, older sister and myself, have all benefitted from Mid-Dakota. It is crazy to think that without the simplicity of water, we would not be able to do much.  Every day we use water by bathing, flushing the toilet, cooking, cleaning, drinking and much more.  I realize that most days I don't think a lot about how important and blessed I have been to receive water so easily.  However, I have come to know that without water, little would be possible.

For my family, Mid-Dakota has helped us immensely.  I am extremely grateful that my family and I are able to receive Mid-Dakota water.  Through this benefit, we are able to achieve so much.  I always enjoy having a clean house, food on the table, warm water to bathe, water to drink whenever I am thirsty...the list goes on and on.  It breaks my heart when I hear of the little children in other countries who don't get clean water.  I think we often times take for granted the clean water we receive.  This is easy to do because water has become a natural necessity for us.  However, we should remember that not everyone in the world is fortunate enough to have unlimited amounts of clean water.

It is such a wonderful feeling, knowing that the water we receive is clean and one-hundred percent healthy for us.  I would like to thank you for providing my family and I with clean, healthy, unlimited amounts of water. Without it, little would be possible.  Thank you for your time and consideration in reading my essay.


Nicole Hamilton

Essay:  Mid-Dakota Allows Us to Live, and Not Just Survive 

Water is essential for all living things to survive.  I drink more glasses of water every day than I do any other liquid.  This abundance of clean water provided to my family has not come easily.  Mid-Dakota water reached my home just ten years ago, and since then our life has improved greatly.

The artesian water I initially grew up on was harsh.  Until 2004, it made our clothes, blankets, and sheets dingy.  It was the cause of rust in our sinks and bathtubs.  My parents had to use a water softener so we could drink it.  As kids, my siblings and I would hook up the garden hose and fill up the kiddie pool.  After we had our fun splashing around, we would come out having a slight sulfur smell because it was artesian water.

We would water our live Christmas tree with artesian water.  After a few years, we switched to having a 'fake' Christmas tree.  I believe part of the reason for the switch was because the live Christmas tree did not last long on artesian water.  Mid-Dakota water has allowed my family to have a real live Christmas tree again,and bring back part of a tradition.

In the church I attended when I was younger, I almost always refused to drink water there unless I was desperately thirsty.  The water was so full of minerals and had an awful salty taste.  I cannot help but think how different it would be if they received Mid-Dakota water as well.

Thanks to Mid-Dakota Rural Water, my family can enjoy clean, healthy water without the added workload of adding softener or repairing damaged pipes.  We can live, and not just survive.


Allison Lake

Essay:  Mid-Dakota

Mid-Dakota Rural Water System, Inc. has been a very important part of the recent history and of the future of the town that I live in, Gettysburg, South Dakota.  I am too young to remember but the older residents of Gettysburg tell me that we used to get our water from an artesian well.  They tell me that it did not have a very pleasant taste and it caused people in the community to have discolored teeth.  To alleviate these problems the city decided to install a pipeline from the Missouri River and have our own treatment plant.  This was not only very expensive to put in and to maintain, but there were problems with the pipeline and the treatment center right from the start.  It got so bad that there was talk of maybe going back to the artesian well or starting over again with another pipeline from the river.

The arrival of Mid-Dakota Rural Water solved these problems for Gettysburg.  The water was better quality than we had ever had before, it was cheaper than we had been used to, and it was incredibly reliable, which is something that we had not been accustomed to at all.  I cannot imagine that the Mid-Dakota Rural Water System could have helped any community more, or come at a better time than it did for Gettysburg.

The Mid-Dakota Rural Water System has also helped my family's business significantly.  We own a farm right beside Gettysburg, along with a couple of ranches further from town, but still within the Mid-Dakota Rural Water service area.  The same problems that plagued the city of Gettysburg were also problematic at our ranches.  The artesian well that we had was very hard on the cattle waterers, the hydrants and anything else that the water came in contact with.  We were able to get water from the city at our farm in town, but they charged a lot extra because we were not within the city limits and it have become very expensive.  There was also talk that they may cut us off from using the city's water because of all the problems that they were suffering.

Once again the creation of the Mid-Dakota Rural Water System was the solution.  We were able to hooku both places up to the Mid-Dakota System and it solved all of these problems.  Our farms and ranch enjoys a reliable source of clean water at a price cheaper than we could get before.  Also our watering equipment has a much longer life than before which once again saves us a lot of money and does away with a lot of day to day maintenance.


(Cole Oakley was an alternate and when one of the scholarship winners went to a school outside the State of South Dakota, he became eligible for the $500.00 Scholarship)

Cole Oakley

Essay: Mid-Dakota is Our Savior

I live in the small community of Holabird in Hyde County and thanks to Mid-Dakota Rural Water System we have safe, healthy drinking water.

I will start this story at the beginning, my family and our two dogs moved from Pierre to Holabird when I was eight.  We really enjoyed our small town and the small town living.  We shared a well with a few of the other families in town, one of the neighbors did water testing once a month to make sure our water was safe.  For a few years the tests came back okay but the water had started to smell occasionally and did leave stains on our dishes and clothes sometimes.  Shortly after these problems started we got back a test level that wasn't good, we were told we needed to find a new water source as the well water was no longer safe for humans or animals to consume.  Whatever the bad levels were I remember my mom saying that if we continued to drink the water it could cause health problems.  The families that used the well had a meeting and decided to talk with Mid-Dakota to see if we could get hooked up to their system.

The answer was yes, Mid-Dakota was very willing to work with us both physically and financially to help us get switched from the nasty well to their system.  So after a short time of having to buy all our water, Mid-Dakota came through, they had all the pipes, meters in and we could start hooking up our homes.  The families in our small town worked together to hook our houses up to the Mid-Dakota water.

We now have great water that tastes good, doesn't smell, doesn't leave stains and doesn't make my mom complain about how hard it is to clean up the shower.  Thanks to Mid-Dakota other small towns like ours and other people don't have to worry about drinking water that could make them sick.




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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