Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making investments to improve water and waste infrastructure for 168 small towns across the country, including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The investment, totaling $283 million, is made through USDA Rural Development’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, which provides assistance and financing to develop drinking water and waste disposal systems for communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
In Nebraska, the Village of Talmage is receiving a $1.3 million in USDA combined loan and grant to upgrade its existing facilities and to install new water meters in order to meet applicable health standards for drinking water. The village will be able to connect to the Nemaha Rural Water District No. 2 for its water supply.
The Village of Moorefield, Nebraska is utilizing a $20,100 grant for water system improvements. The village had an emergency with one of its water wells, and the remaining well was not large enough to supply water to the town. USDA funding assisted the village with the costs of the needed emergency repairs so that Moorefield was able to get the repairs done quickly and got the town back in service.
“Strong infrastructure is critical to keeping America’s communities of all sizes thriving, and USDA is proud to partner with the National Rural Water Association to help improve the livelihood of our smallest towns by providing access to reliable water and wastewater systems,” said Vilsack. “Projects like these are critical to the economy, health and future of rural America, and today 19 million residents now have improved water and wastewater services in their communities thanks to investments USDA has made since 2009.”
USDA Rural Utilities Service Administrator Brandon McBride made the announcement on Vilsack’s behalf at the National Rural Water Association’s WaterPro conference.
Rural Development’s new online application system, RD Apply, allows applications to be submitted by anyone, anywhere in the country, any time of day. That means even the most remote rural communities can submit an application as long as they have access to the internet. USDA’s Water and Environmental Programs division launched RD Apply at the National Rural Water Association’s WaterPro conference in Oklahoma City on Sept. 28, 2015.
Funding for each project announced today is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan, grant or loan/grant agreement.
To find a Nebraska office nearest you go to http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices/ne.
The funding builds on USDA’s historic investments in rural America over the past seven years. Since 2009, USDA has worked to strengthen and support rural communities and American agriculture, an industry that supports one in 11 American jobs, provides American consumers with more than 80 percent of the food we consume, ensures that Americans spend less of their paychecks at the grocery store than most people in other countries, and supports markets for homegrown renewable energy and materials.
Since 2009, USDA Rural Development (@USDARD) has invested $13.5 billion for 5,739 water and waste infrastructure projects, benefiting 19.1 million rural residents; invested nearly $13 billion to start or expand nearly 112,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; funded nearly 9,200 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. USDA also has invested $31.3 billion in 963 electric projects that have financed more than 185,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines serving 4.6 million rural residents. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results.