Cass Rural Water District was formed by a grass roots effort of rural Cass County residents. A group of area farmers met in July of 1973 to discuss developing a rural water system. Fay Waxler, who served as chairman of the original temporary board of directors remembers that meeting as well as over 150 other meetings that were held throughout the summer and fall of that year.
In November of 1973, Cass Rural Water Users, Inc. was officially formed as a non-profit corporation. At that same time a board of directors was appointed. In addition to Mr. Waxler the original board members were Charles Albright, Donald Brakke, Harley Hanson, James Miller, Paul Pratt, Fred Selberg, Oscar Simonson and Clarence Solberg.
One of the first official acts of the board was to hire Houston Engineering of Fargo to prepare a feasibility study and develop engineering plans for the rural water system.
The organization benefited from the assistance of representatives from Cass County Electric Cooperative, including Manager Willard Grager and Lawrence Moderow. Mr. Moderow helped greatly with the initial membership drive that resulted in nearly 1,600 sign ups. The first annual meeting held in January 1974 in Fargo attracted nearly 300 people.
Financing development of a rural water system was the major concern of the board. After completion of the engineering study a financing plan was developed with assistance from the Farmers Home Administration. In November of 1975 the members of Cass Rural Water Users voted unanimously to authorize the board of directors to obtain funds from FmHA. The project was constructed in three separate phases.
Construction of the first phase, the Hickson system, began in 1976. Located mostly in the eastern part of the county, this system started supplying water to about 375 members just before Christmas of 1976. It now provides water to the communities of Mapleton, Davenport and Kindred.
Phase II, the Leonard phase in southwestern Cass County, was completed in late 1977 at a cost of $2.7 million. The Page system or Phase III of the project which is located in the northern and northwestern part of the county was completed in 1978 and cost about $3.0 million.
Each of the three phases that make up Cass Rural Water Users has a separate water source and separate treatment plants. Phase I is served from the West Fargo Aquifer through a treatment plant near Saint Benedict. The Phase II plant is located south of Leonard and uses water withdrawn from the Sheyenne Delta Aquifer. Phase III is served by a treatment plant located south of Page and takes its water from the Page Aquifer. Other features of the system include nearly 2,000 miles of pipeline and 13 water storage facilities/pump stations. The system currently serves approximately 3,300 rural users and 13 communities including Casselton, Buffalo, Amenia, Hunter, Arthur, Argusville, Gardner, Grandin, Tower City and Page.
In 2002 the members of Cass Rural Water Users, Inc. voted to convert from a non-profit corporation to a water district. This was done primarily for financial reasons since a water district qualifies for lower interest financing and can set up special assessment districts to finance certain improvements.