Sustainable Water Storage for Future Generations

Like a heart, rural water districts pump a critical resource to places where it’s needed and effective water storage plays a critical role.

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By John Novaria

Because the costs involved in water provision are too great for small municipalities to go it alone, rural water districts are taking on greater importance. Like a heart, they pump a critical resource to places where it’s needed.

In South Dakota, rural water districts promote and sustain life — on nearly 32,000 farms and in hundreds of communities. Across the state’s 77,116 square miles, water storage tanks dotting the landscape bring water to wheat fields, cattle pens, flourmills and nurseries. Farming is more than a career here; it’s an essential part of the fabric of life, dominating the state with 19 million acres of cropland and 23 million acres of pasture. And farming absolutely relies on water.

Randall, situated in southeastern South Dakota, borders the Missouri River. It’s one of the oldest districts in the state, with 3,000 miles of pipe. Last year, the district sold over 1.3 trillion gallons of water and is one of about 30 regional rural water systems that collectively serve most cities and towns in the state in one form or another.

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Randall Community Water District’s newest Aquastore tank has a capacity of three million gallons, measures 130 feet in diameter by 33 feet tall, and is made of glass-fused-to-steel for durability and high performance.

“The district has a high profile because we supply an essential resource to homes, businesses and farmers,” said Scott Pick, general manager of Randall Community Water District. “With so much at stake, we set the highest standards for quality and service.”

Increased demand means districts like Randall are processing and pumping 24/7, which requires more electricity — not to mention other increases districts are facing these days, like the cost of enhanced treatment procedures to meet environmental regulations, higher infrastructure costs and rising chemical costs.

Like other districts, Randall wants to control costs so its customers don’t have to pay more for their water. The most effective solution? More storage capacity.

“By expanding our storage capacity, we can keep more water in reserve and reduce the number of hours a day we’re processing and pumping, which in turn keeps our electric bill in check,” said Pick. “Storage is and always will be a priority for us.”

Great Plains Structures (GPS) is the authorized CST dealer for the region and recently installed another Aquastore® tank for Randall at Lake Andes, effectively increasing the district’s capacity by 3 million gallons. The tank was part of an $8 million expansion, which includes a new state-of-the-art treatment facility and three transmission mains that will extend the district’s service area.

“We’ll go to any lengths to get these guys what they need,” said Rob Gravatt of GPS. “To us, liquid storage is more than just a tank or reservoir; we set out to understand Scott’s operations inside and out. We’ve worked closely with him and his team to control his expenses and increase his efficiency.”

Made in America, Aquastore has been a consistent performer for the district. Randall Community Water District bought the first Aquastore tank in South Dakota 30 years ago, and today it operates a total of seven. The newest has a capacity of three million gallons, measures 130 feet in diameter by 33 feet tall and is made of glass-fused-to-steel for durability and high performance. In fact, it’s the largest glass-fused-to-steel bolted tank ever built for a rural water system in South Dakota and one of the largest water tanks in the entire state.

CST designed and perfected the tank with the elements in mind. The glass coating applied in the factory makes it highly resistant to extreme weather conditions and can be installed in many climates where field-­welded steel or concrete tanks cannot. Plus, there’s no need to repaint and maintenance costs are lower than other tank types.

The glass-fused-to-steel coating process is a 360-degree solution that coats all dimensions of the tank sheets. It optimizes uniformity and precision glass coverage for unmatched corrosion resistance.

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Great Plains Structures (GPS) recently installed another Aquastore tank for the Randall Community Water District at Lake Andes, effectively increasing the district’s capacity by 3 million gallons.

“We have some of the harshest weather in the nation, and only Aquastore performs well in the elements,” said GPS’s Gravatt. “This tank will look like new [even] after 30 years.”

The tanks are built using hydraulic jacking, which allows for safer, faster construction and can be expanded to accommodate future requirements.

Pick said he’s merely a caretaker. He knows the nation’s demand for what South Dakota produces will continue long after he’s gone and water will still have its essential purpose at the heart of society. With the partnership of Great Plains Structures and CST, Pick will be able to pass on a sustainable, time-­tested delivery system to future generations. WW

About the Author: John Novaria is principal of Novaria Communication, based in Los Angeles. He has more than 30 years of experience in PR consulting, corporate communications and television news, where he was a two-time Emmy winner. Since 2012, Novaria has maintained his own practice counseling clients in engineering, financial services, manufacturing and technology.

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