FAQ: USDA has announced funding available to help improve rural water systems. With the continuing drought and my well going dry, which was the best water source for our livestock and my family on our farm, I'd like to find out more about rural water. I'd gladly hook up to it if it were available in my area.
Answer: U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack earlier this fall announced funding for rural water projects to create jobs and improve rural water and wastewater systems in 16 states. "These improvements to rural water infrastructure will provide reliable access to clean water, improving public health while creating jobs that strengthen rural economies." Vilsack said. "This program works to support creation of a vibrant, sustainable rural America and clean water is a basic necessity for the health and economic growth of our rural communities."
For example in Iowa, the city of Rhodes has been selected to receive loan and grant funds to rehabilitate the sewage collection system and lagoon for the city. In rural Virginia, the town of Kenbridge was selected to receive a loan and grant to upgrade old sewer lines and pump stations. The current wastewater system allows untreated sewage run off resulting in hazards to human health. The sewer system serves approximately 440 residential and 90 commercial users.
USDA offers funds to create jobs, improve rural water systems
Since 2009, USDA has provided more than $8.1 billion in investment to bring modern, updated water and waste water capacity to thousands of rural communities – helping to safeguard the health and wellbeing of millions.
The $54 million in loans and $19 million in grants are being provided by USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to help rural communities build and upgrade rural water systems. RUS funding provides thousands of new connections to water and wastewater facilities to improve water quality, increase the efficiency of water use, and reduce usage.
For instance, in Pennsylvania a new sewage treatment plant was constructed with USDA support by the Center-West Joint Authority to stop the discharge of raw sewage into the Monongahela River. Upgrades to a nearby system in Brownville eliminated pollution to the Dunlap Creek Watershed, allowed new users to be added to the system and further increased economic development by enabling a new, large retail store to be constructed in the area.
For a complete list of projects funded, click here. Funding is contingent on recipients meeting the terms of the loan and grant agreements. For more information on the Water and Environment Program visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWEP_HomePage.html.
USDA's Rural Development agency administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. The programs are designed to improve economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.