The People’s Water

Only a small article in the Argus Leader this morning concerning last night’s Clay Rural Water Systems meeting at the 4-H/Extension Building in Vermillion, but I do like the title: “Refinery Hits Dry Spot.”  The Sioux City Journal also weighed in with this piece.

I want to point out this tidbit from the history of Clay Rural Water Systems, Inc.

The formation of the Clay Rural Water System was the result of a desire to obtain better quality water and to work together as a rural community.

…and from the “About Us” section:

The Clay Rural Water System provides water service to 2,025 locations in parts of five counties in southeast South Dakota. The sole purpose of the water system is to provide safe, quality drinking water to its members for domestic, farm and business use.

Clay RWS is a member-owned, non-profit corporation incorporated in June, 1975. The water system was financed and constructed from 1978-1980 primarily with member connection fees and loans and grants from the Farmers Home Administration. It became fully operational in late 1980. The original construction cost of the System was $5.8 million.

The rural water system is owned by and exists for its members (Socialism!), and is largely funded by those members. The members had their say last night, and they said to send Hyperion and their “local first” agenda (that is, drain the local coffers and resources first) back to Texas.

What confuses me, not yet having served on one of these local boards, is why not one of the board members expressed in their own discussion of the motion to “investigate further” the simple fact that the members had spoken, the members don’t want to get their water and financial resources tied up with Hyperion, and the board should simply end it there.

There were a couple of comments that came close to this, but nothing so decisive and straightforward as, “the people have spoken–we cannot fail to act.”  I can guarantee you that the audience would have erupted into a standing ovation had the board as a whole made that decisive statement.

Let’s hope we get to hear it soon.


4 responses to this post.

  1. From what I’ve read, SD no longer controls its own environmental fate. With the Bakken shale oil discovery to the north and west of you, and SD having lax environmental laws, throw a little greed into the mix and ordinary folks aren’t even going to get kissed first. It’s all about the green, and I’m not talking ecology. If you just had more people, you might be able to make a difference, but SD’s entire population doesn’t equal one good Obama rally. That makes it tough. C

  2. Posted by flyingtomato on October 25, 2008 at 7:38 am


    There are quite a few of us working to protect what we have, and I think you’d be surprised at some of the alliances that have formed to protect those resources.

    I come from a state with a comparable population (though much smaller in size), and it has some of the tightest environmental regulations in the country. The trick is to keep outside interests from “dividing and conquering.”

    I take issue with, “if you just had more people, you might be able to make a difference.” It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog! 🙂


  3. There are resources available to fight global climate change, and if South Dakota turns into a battleground state on that issue, I would be very surprised if some of those resources didn’t head South Dakota’s way, either inside the state or outside in battles that affect the state.

    For example, there was an environmental victory this week in Minnesota that could make it more difficult for South Dakota’s polluting Big Stone coal-fired power plant to be expanded. Star Tribune news story here:

  4. Fight in the dog matters, especially if the dog is a bitch. I hope SD has plenty of them. What a coup if so few can stop these people, or at least trigger a sense that someone is watching them.

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