ND Rural Water Systems Association

April, 2012- Vol 7, Issue 1

In This Issue
Senator Conrad Stands Up For Rural & Small Communities
Water Rates Training
ND RATES Program
Revolving Loan Fund
SwiftH2O Notification System
Ford Fleet Program
NDRWSA Equipment
Upcoming Events

Eric Volk, Executive Director

Lisa Schatz, Finance Manager

Kathy Berg, Administrative Assistant

Chuck Mischel, Op Cert Program

Mike Ritteman, Circuit Rider-East

Tom Sieg, Circuit Rider-West
Les Sigette, Wastewater Tech

Rod Stroh, Drought Mgmt Specialist

Andy McDonald, SW Protection

Executive Board

Keith Nilson, President
Michele Schommer, Vice President
LaVonne Althoff, Secretary
Joe LaFave, Treasurer
Jon Nelson, Director at Large
John Bearman, National Rep.

Geneva Kaiser, Managers Rep.

Gordon Blixt, Past President

Contact Us


2718 Gateway Ave. #201

Bismarck, ND 58503

Phone: 1-800-349-6951

Fax: 701-258-5002


The mission of the North Dakota Rural Water Systems Association is to educate, support, and lead its members in providing quality service to their customers.

Senator Conrad Stands Up For Rural & Small Communities


Washington - Senator Kent Conrad introduced bipartisan legislation designed to ensure that families in America's most rural communities enjoy the same safe and clean drinking water as families in more urban communities. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) is the lead co-sponsor of the legislation.


"Senator Wicker and I understand that there are few things more important to a community than safe, clean drinking water," Senator Conrad said. "Unfortunately, the infrastructure in some areas of North Dakota, Mississippi and rural communities across the country isn't as up-to-date as it should be, making it difficult to meet environmental and safety standards. The funding provided in this bill is critical to ensuring the water quality in these communities meets national standards."


"Many counties and towns throughout the country are struggling as a result of the economic downturn, making it difficult for them to comply with costly federal regulations," said Senator Wicker.  "This legislation would give some assistance to these small communities as they try to provide clean drinking water, and I am glad to join Senator Conrad in this bipartisan effort."


Click here to read full length article


How To Set Proper Water Rates Training


North Dakota Rural Water Systems Association, in conjunction with the North Dakota League of Cities Regional Meetings, will be sponsoring 6 half day, How to Set Proper Water Rates training sessions.


Topics to be Covered:

  • Water Rate Basics
  • Rate Setting Strategies
  • Affordability, Operating & Coverage Ratios
  • Full Cost Pricing
  • Inflation & Depreciation
  • Capacity Development
  • Water Audits, Meters & Unaccounted for Water
  • Planning for the Future
  • Computer Rate Analysis Demonstration

Presenter: Eric Volk, Executive Director, NDRWSA



Click here for full length article and registration information


The ND RATES Program
The North Dakota Rural Water Systems Association has been providing rate setting assistance for many years. Many systems have taken advantage of this service. Hopefully that includes yours. We would like to think that, due to our help, many systems are much better funded and rate structures are fairer because of our efforts.


But, we will be the first to admit that we have our limits. With all the other services we need to provide there are only so many hours we can devote to rate calculations and rate setting help. Just learning how to do this kind of work at a high level takes many months of training, time we simply cannot spare. Fortunately, there's more than one way to skin a cat (apologies to all you cat lovers).


In January your Association launched the "North Dakota RATES Program," which stands for Rate Analysis and Training for Environmental Systems. That's right; we're "doubling down." We will continue to provide rate setting help like before. But we have added rate analysis and training services on the top end of the scale. Those services will be provided by Carl Brown Consulting (CBC) which is perhaps the best small-system rate analysis firm in the U.S.


Click here to read full length article



Revolving Loan Funds Still Available!


The Rural Water Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) was established under a grant from USDA/Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to provide financing to eligible utilities for pre-development costs associated with proposed water and wastewater projects.  RLF funds can also be used with existing water/wastewater systems and the short term costs incurred for replacement equipment, small scale extension of services or other small capital projects that are not a part of your regular operations and maintenance. 


Loan amounts may not exceed $100,000 or 75% of the total project cost whichever is less.  The program allows a maximum repayment period of 10 years. The repayment period cannot exceed the useful life of the facilities or financed item. Five year, interest only, pre-development loans will also be available. The RLF does not require an engineer, bond counsel or architect.


Loans will be made at the lower of the poverty or market interest rate as published by RUS, with a minimum of 3% at the time of closing.  The most current rates are available on the RUS Water and Environmental Programs Home page at


Applicants can contact the North Dakota Rural Water Systems Association, 701-258-9249, for assistance in acquiring, preparing and submitting the required documents.


SwiftH2O Notification System


In today's busy world, you know how important it is for a utility to have a fast and reliable method of contacting customers.  With modern technology, the days of printing door hangers and going door to door to notify customers of an issue are over. Calls, text messages and emails can be sent within moments and at a fraction of the cost of printing and sending information.  Therefore, the North Dakota Rural Water Systems Association is proud to announce that it has partnered with SwiftReach Networks to provide our members with their high-speed Public Notification Service.

NDRWSA members can use SwiftReach Networks' internet based, fully hosted, state-of-the-art public notification system, to rapidly transmit pre-recorded messages to defined telephone numbers or text messages and e-mails to the appropriate devices to alert individuals of emergency and non-emergency issues. 

 Members can use the system in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Issue a "Boil Water Advisory" to all clients via phone, e-mail and text message within minutes.
  • Notify clients in advance when routine maintenance work may cause low pressure or discolored water.
  • The system can also place reminder calls to clients when invoices are past due.
  • Use the mapping feature to place calls to a specific geographic area where an issue is impacting only certain residents in your district.

Click here for full length article 

Ford Fleet Program


Rural and municipal water and wastewater systems of any size who are members of their State Rural Water Association are eligible for the Ford Fleet Program. The VIP Fleet Program offers special discounts to water associations, water utilities, wastewater utilities and municipalities looking to update or expand their fleet of work vehicles. If you are a member of NDRWSA and are interested in the Ford Fleet Program, contact us at 800-349-6951.




Xeriscaping is creating a water efficient landscape via various methods, such as planting drought tolerant vegetation, increasing deck/patio space, and/or incorporating decorative embellishments. Xeriscape plans emphasize water conserving designs. One principle of xeriscaping is to reduce the area of Kentucky bluegrass turf, which usually requires substantial watering and fertilization. A property owner implementing basic xeriscaping principals will benefit from decreased landscape maintenance requirements and may also increase property value.  


Xeriscaping incorporates seven water conserving principles into creating colorful landscapes:

* Planning with a functional design

Purple Coneflower is a popular native plant found in ND used in xeriscaping.

* Use of various mulches

* Proper soil preparation

* Planting adapted and water efficient plant   materials

* Establishment of efficient watering or irrigation systems

* Appropriate maintenance


Xeriscaping is not:

* Zero landscaping

* Dry-only landscaping

* Just rocks and gravel

* Lawn-less landscaping

* Native plants only

* Monoculture of spiny plants


 A xeriscaped yard can be as formal, conventional, naturalistic, or creative as fits your landscaping style. You do not have to complete your xeriscape all at once, but let it gradually evolve over a period of years.


NDRWSA Equipment Available


Spring is here, schedule one of our Gate Valve Exercisers, Sewer Camera, and Smoke Testing Equipment today! 
Upcoming Events - Mark Your Calendar 

National Drinking Water Week

May 6-12, 2012


2012 Summer Board Meeting & Leadership Retreat

July 19-20, 2012

Rough Riders Hotel Conference Center

Medora, ND

Visit our website to view the tentative agenda 


Contact Information

ND Rural Water Systems Association
2718 Gateway Avenue #201
Bismarck, ND 58503
Phone: 800-349-6951
Fax: 701-258-5002

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