State Director for Rural Development Joyce White today announced that two Georgia communities are among the $392 million invested that was announced by USDA this week to help rebuild and improve rural water and wastewater infrastructure.
USDA is supporting investments in 120 infrastructure projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. In many cases, states, other federal partners and nonprofits are working with USDA to also provide funding for these projects.
USDA announced the awards this week during the Water Pro Conference hosted by the National Rural Water Association. Below are the investments in Georgia:
The Coosawattee River Resort Association Inc., in Gilmer County, Ga. will use a $545,000 loan to complete a $3.27 million project that was initially funded in 2017. The project will replace the 25 year old water lines, with adequately sized lines within the Coosawattee River Resort Association (CRRA) campground area, including adequate isolation valves. Once the new lines are in service, radio read meters will be installed at each campsite/residence. The installation of radio read meters will minimize the labor needed for meter reading, as well as reduce errors when data is transferred to the billing software. Fire hydrants will be installed to provide fire protection to residents uniformly throughout the campground.
The city of Pavo, in Thomas County Ga., will use a $1,965,000 grant with a $680,000 loan to replace water distribution lines throughout the city. The project also includes drilling a new well and construction of an elevated storage tank, to improve service to the community of approximately 600 residents. Previous funding includes a $30,000 Rural Development Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households grant to determine project feasibility.
USDA is making investments in rural communities in: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansans, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.
In FY 2018, Congress provided a historic level of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure. The 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.8 billion in FY 2017. The bill also directs Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.
Eligible rural communities and water districts can apply online for funding to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. They can visit the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.
To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.