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Opinion Editorial - Modern Infrastructure is Foundational for Quality of Life

Julie Gross
Release Date

Today many rural communities are in need of new or updated water or wastewater systems but lack the full financial means to resolve the issues they are experiencing.  I would highly recommend those community leaders look to USDA Rural Development for assistance as $4 billion in loan funding is currently available, this is nearly triple the normal obligation.  


Loans are available to small towns (populations 10,000 or less) to construct a water tank, install new water or sewer lines, or build a waste water treatment plant, along with a myriad of other projects.  I encourage communities to not miss this opportunity to file an application that will help build upon their community’s infrastructure.  To submit an application, you can use the interactive RD Apply tool or you can contact me directly or reach out to one of our field staff.


President Trump has made investing in American infrastructure a priority for our economic growth.  With infrastructure investments, the full potential of not only South Dakota’s economy, but the nation’s as well, can be unleashed and rural job opportunities can be created.


Rural Development understands the importance modern and reliable water systems have in helping rural communities thrive.  From economic opportunity to public health and the environment, modern infrastructure, including water infrastructure, is a foundation for enhanced quality of life and prosperity in rural America. 


Today, we find ourselves at the threshold of opportunity to repair, rehabilitate, and modernize outdated infrastructure and establish a foundation for the future.  Does your community have a plan in place to enhance system reliability and safety?  Whatever stage of development you may be at, our agency may be able to help. 


In South Dakota we have utilized the water and environmental programs with much success.  For example, our agency recently awarded Aurora-Brule Rural Water System, Inc. in Kimball funding totaling $1.7 million to help alleviate low pressure and capacity issues, as well as aid in providing additional water resources to meet current demands and future growth.  This project has six different elements within Aurora-Brule's infrastructure. The first element includes the water treatment plant. Funds will be used to replace motors, high-service pumps and variable frequency drives, as well as investing in innovative new pumps, air compressors and air dryers for efficient use of the systems. The second and third elements include the replacement of two booster stations and constructing four miles of new water mainlines. The fourth element includes a one-mile extension of current 14" water mainline to aid in delivery of water to customers. The fifth and sixth elements include the recoating and cleaning of two water towers in Aurora-Brule's service area. This project will affect about 3,000 rural users in South Dakota.

I can’t express enough, what a tremendous opportunity this funding provides to rural communities to replace old lines or outdated, inefficient systems with modern infrastructure that is foundational for quality of life.  Call today so we can help improve the condition of your community.  It would be my honor to help you and partner with your local community to address its infrastructure needs. Please call me at (605) 352-1100 or email me at julie.gross@sd.usda.gov.