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This study investigates the social and physical impacts that rural water systems have on South Dakota’s population and the water consumption characteristics of city, country dwelling, and farm customer classifications. The physical characteristics of South Dakota’s rural water systems along with the 2006 water production and sales information were used to determine and relate the unique distribution characteristics and water consumption demands of the rural water systems. The impact of improved water quality to the customers of the rural water systems was shown in improved livestock production and health, customer softening salt savings, and reduction of total dissolved solids entering South Dakota’s water ways. To examine the unique distribution system characteristics and water consumption demands of regional rural water systems, the water consumption characteristics and trends of city, country dwelling, and farm customers of Big Sioux Community Water System, Clay Rural Water System, Mid-Dakota Rural Water, and TM Rural Water District were compared. The results indicated that South Dakota’s regional rural water systems generally average 1.5 water meters per square mile. As a result of lower water hardness distributed through rural water systems, customers that switch from a community water system to rural water and use an ion exchange system in their dwelling could annually save $31.91 per year due to lower salt use for regeneration. The lower regeneration frequency improved water quality by reduced dissolved solids discharged into the water environment by 800 pounds per year. Farmers that switched their water source from private wells to rural water experienced increased livestock production and health - one dairy farm located in the TM Rural Water District saw a daily milk yield increase of 8 to 10 pounds per cow. Water use records of customers served by rural water system indicated cities with populations fewer than 100 used 71 gallons per person per person per day, customers of cities with populations ranging from 100 to 500 used 87 gallons per person per day, and customers in cities with populations over 500 used 119 gallons per person per day. The daily water demand for country dwelling customers ranged from 151 gallons per day to 335 gallons per day, and generally experienced an increase in customer numbers from 1999 to 2007. Farm customers had the highest averaged daily water demand at 456 gallons per day.




South Dakota State University