South Dakota depends on rural water systems to supply safe, potable water to farms, country dwellings, communities and industries. Thirty-three rural water systems supply water to more than 260 of South Dakota's public water systems (cities, towns, subdivisions), comprising more than 70% of the city or town public water supply systems in South Dakota. Regional rural water systems serve a large percentage of South Dakota's area and are a vital contributor the quality of life and economic development.
The Regional Water System Research Consortium (RWSRC) was created to sustain the development and service life of regional rural water systems. RWSRC supports research, development and outreach activities that provide planning and management, operations and education tools to advance the efficiency and sustainability of regional rural water systems. Stakeholder groups, including several South Dakota rural water systems, the South Dakota Association of Rural Water Systems and Water Development Districts provided the initial seed funding for projects selected by the RWSRC research advisory group. Representatives of the stakeholder groups are members of the research advisory group. The RWSRC is directed by Christopher Schmit, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of the WEERC at South Dakota State University.