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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hyperion Drinks Your Milkshake... and 9 Million Gallons of Water

Daniel Plainview would be proud....

An eager reader points to a note in today's edition of that Sioux Falls paper on an upcoming meeting of the Clay Rural Water System. This Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Vermillion's 4-H Center (515 High Street), the water system's board of directors discuss a request from Hyperion Resources to supply water for the proposed refinery at Elk Point.

Clay Rural Water currently supplies 1.3 million gallons of water a day to a little over 2000 locations in southeastern South Dakota. Hyperion is requesting a daily supply of 9 to 12 million gallons of water.

Perspective: my wife, my daughter, and I consume about 3000 gallons of water a month from Kingbrook Rural Water. Call it a hundred gallons a day (dang—even that seems like a lot of water!). The water Hyperion is requesting would be enough to meet the needs of 90,000 to 120,000 households like mine. That's another Sioux Falls and then some.

Some communities in the Sioux Falls metroplex are already scrambling to find enough water to support their population growth. The Hyperion refinery would take at least another 90,000 households worth of water off the growth table.

So if you had to choose, which economic development route would you pursue: one refinery that will generate a couple thousand jobs, or 90,000 new households filled with moms, dads and kids to generate jobs and wealth in southeast South Dakota? (And remember: you can't drink oil, no matter how green it is.)


  1. How do 90,000 households produce jobs?

    I know oil produces energy, even though it's not water.

  2. One of the things that simply has to occur in the future is recycling industrial water. To use that amount of clean water each day and disregard it is irresponsible for future generations. A system has to be created to require recycling industrial water where possible, not just send it down the drain.

  3. Anon -- spot on! We can't just use that water once and have it ruined. Hyperion needs to show us it can reclaim that water for other uses.

    c.callis -- well, there you go again. 90,000 households in Minnehaha County demand an awful lot of goods and services. I just read a colleague's doctoral thesis on efforts to attract retirees: you might think old folks would be a drag on your economy, but when they move to town, they have money to spend. Get a cluster of retirees to move to an area, and they are less likely to want to mow their own lawn or shingle their own roof. An influx of retirees creates jobs for landscapers, housepainters, plumbers, etc.

    See, c.c., you're still thinking that business is the engine of growth. As a sharp commenter pointed out the other day, customers drive growth. Drawing even a fraction of those 90,000 households to Elk Point, Vermillion, and other fine burgs in our southeastern quadrant would create demand that would support a diverse array of new jobs, a much more stable basis for local economy than one big plant owned by one corporation... and it wouldn't guzzle 9 million gallons of water a day.

  4. Customers of what?

    Would that what be business'? Thanks for explaining my point of view in such a round-a-bout way!


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