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USDA Invests $13 Million to Expand Access to Rural Water Infrastructure and Create Economic Opportunities for More Than 19,000 People in Colonias, Rural and Tribal Communities

Nicole Howell
Release Date
Jun 30, 2022

Including $1 Million Grant for Houlton Water Company

COACHELLA, Calif. June 30, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today joined Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) to announce USDA is investing $13 million to expand access to rural water infrastructure and create economic opportunities for people who live and work in colonias, rural and Tribal communities. This announcement includes a $1.5 million grant to improve the water infrastructure in Coachella, Calif.

The investments are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensure that people living in rural America have equitable access to the infrastructure and economic opportunities they deserve. They include more than $9 million to help nearly 14,000 people located in socially vulnerable communities.

“Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA believes that people everywhere, regardless of where they live, should have peace of mind using basic community infrastructure, whether that means drinking safe water or having equipment to learn skills for a new career,” Torres Small said. “Thanks to the leadership of President Biden, Vice President Harris, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Members of Congress like Congressman Ruiz, USDA can help invest in this peace of mind and build opportunity and prosperity for the people who call rural America home.”

USDA Rural Development Maine State Director Rhiannon Hampson said, “Investments like this one go far beyond ensuring safe and effective water and waste water systems, they demonstrate the commitment of the Biden-Harris Administration, and Rural Development, to supporting communities in thriving. Making home a welcome place to be, that’s the invaluable result.”

In rural Maine, Houlton Water Company is receiving a $1 million Water and Waste Disposal tribal grant to replace the Foxcroft Road and Clover Circle lift stations, which serve the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians. The current stations designed to handle 38 housing units will be replaced with new stations that will increase capacity to 81 housing units. There will also be an addition of a generator at both lift stations and new technology upgrades to help reduce the cost of operation and maintenance.


Torres Small highlighted investments that USDA is making in two programs specifically designed to help people and communities in rural areas. These programs are Water & Waste Disposal Grants to Alleviate Health Risks on Tribal Lands and Colonias and Appalachian Regional Commission Grants. A colonia is defined as a rural community within the U.S.-Mexico border region that lacks adequate water, sewer or housing, or a combination of all three.

The funding will benefit more than 19,000 people in six states. It reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development addresses economic development, infrastructure and social service needs for rural residents and communities. It will help build and improve water and wastewater infrastructure for people living in colonias and Tribal lands. It will also allow colleges to upgrade campus buildings and services.

The awards announced today are being made in Arizona, California, Kentucky, Maine, New Mexico and North Dakota.

Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.