Madison, SD – September, 2021. The South Dakota Association of Rural Water Systems (SDARWS) was named State Association of the Year by the National Rural Water Association (NRWA) at the 2021 WaterPro Conference in Milwaukee, WI. 2021 is the sixth year in a row SDARWS has been recognized by NRWA. SDARWS has previously received this award in 1993, 2011, and 2017.


“The most prestigious and most honored award is the State Association of the Year,” said Tom Speer, the NRWA Awards Committee chair. “It is presented to the state association that projects a team effort in all areas of professional association operations and membership service. SDARWS has excelled in all categories of the award, accomplished by teamwork, strong leadership, and member support.”


Whether assisting a municipality with a water leak, troubleshooting lagoon issues, or conducting high-quality training, the staff at SDARWS work hard to serve their members. When it comes to training and technical expertise, no other entity in South Dakota comes close to the magnitude and value of their work.


SDARWS’ staff has decades of experience in the industry, allowing them to do everything from one-on-one certification training to hands-on operation and maintenance training. They work as a team to assist our members with their needs, ranging from finding leaks to applying for RD loans and grants and completing Risk and Resiliency Assessments and VA/ERPs. Staff is encouraged to pursue training to remain experts in their fields. Three staff are FAA Drone Pilot certified to assist with tank inspection and leak detection. Five staff are certified through the American Backflow Prevention Association to assist with cross-connection and backflow prevention programs and seek further certification as trainers/proctors for backflow prevention programs.


Leak detection assistance has increased SDARWS’ membership base. Thanks to a strong partnership with our state primacy agency, they have cost-shared equipment to convert our technical assistance trailers into emergency response vehicles. SDARWS also serves as the headquarters for South Dakota’s Water Agency Response Network (WARN) to assist with equipment and manpower in an emergency.


SDARWS’ public relations efforts include a consumer magazine that reaches over 35,000 households and communicates the rural water message and a technical magazine that reaches all system operations specialists, regional rural water systems, and decision-makers in our state. Members and NRWA routinely ask SDARWS to assist with special projects to promote water; this year’s highlights include developing a magazine to use at children’s water festivals and creating specialty graphics to share information regarding water and COVID-19 on social media.


SDARWS has three registered lobbyists in our state capitol. Under the leadership of our Executive Director, they monitor and support important issues to rural water systems, including battling the Corps of Engineers over water rights and supporting continued funding of South Dakota’s state Water Omnibus bill.


Headquartered in Madison, SD, The South Dakota Association of Rural Water Systems is a nonprofit membership organization committed to helping communities provide safe drinking water and wastewater services through on-site technical assistance, specialized training, and legislative support. SDARWS has 12 staff who work under the direction of Executive Director Kurt Pfeifle. SDARWS members are rural and municipal water and wastewater systems and affiliated businesses that provide safe, clean drinking water. Since its founding in 1976, SDARWS is an affiliate of the National Rural Water Association, America’s largest utility membership organization representing over 31,000 public water and wastewater systems nationwide.




Photo Cutlines


WaterPro21-115.jpg: Kurt Pfeifle (middle), Executive Director of the South Dakota Association of Rural Water Systems accepts the State Association of the Year award from the National Rural Water Association during the WaterPro Conference in Milwaukee, WI September 15, 2021. Pictured with Pfeifle are NRWA Awards Chairman Tom Speer (left), and NRWA President David Baird (right)


WaterPro21-122.jpg: The South Dakota Assocation of Rural Water Systems was named ‘State Association of the Year’ by the National Rural Water Association during the WaterPro Conference in Milwaukee, WI September 15, 2021. Pictured left to right: Larry Wasland (SD NRWA Director), Kurt Pfeifle (Executive Director), Lloyd Poppens SDARWS Vice President), Jennifer Bame (marketing director), Greg Gross (circuit rider), Nick Jackson (circuit rider), Jeremiah Corbin (field program supervisor), Steve Attema (safety training specialist), Robyn Brothers (office manager), Danny Ayers (wastewater technician), Jeff Fossum (circuit rider), Jeremy Jacobson (wastewater technician), and NRWA awards committee members Jeffrey Day (Michigan), Ellen Yates (Arizona), and Tom Speer (Indiana). Not pictured are staff Jim Zeck (training specialist), Bill Thorson (training and technical assistance specialist), and Mike Moeller (training and technical assistance specialist).

Office Hours: M-F 8:00am - 4:30pm


203 W. Center Street | PO Box 287

Madison, SD 57042

605.556.7219 (p) | 605.556.1497 (f)


301 Seaton Circle | PO Box 815

Spearfish, SD 57783

605.642.4031 (p/f)

South Dakota Rural Water is a proud member

of the National Rural Water Association

2022 © Copyright All Rights Reserved