Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett announced last week that USDA is investing more than $124 million to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure in 23 states. Three projects in Texas are receiving funding.
“Modern, reliable water infrastructure provides a foundation for economic growth and prosperity,” Hazlett said. “USDA’s partnerships with rural communities underscore Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s commitment to ensuring that rural places have the infrastructure needed to thrive.”
USDA is providing the funding 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.
“We are pleased to support rural Texas communities in providing essential services for the welfare of all residents,” said Edd Hargett, Texas USDA Rural Development State Director. “By utilizing these funds, the communities will have improved infrastructure to support economic and population growth.”
Below are examples of infrastructure projects in Texas that USDA is helping to support.
- East Rio Hondo Water Supply Corporation is receiving a $3,440,000 loan and $1,014,300 grant to make improvements to their water treatment facility. A 1,000,0000-gallon elevated storage tank will be constructed along with related piping and equipment, and the current elevated storage tanks will be demolished. These improvements will improve service to customers and will accommodate future growth within the service area. The project will benefit 2,356 rural residents.
- Olmito Water Supply Corporation will use a $1,899,000 loan and $1,482,300 grant to make improvements to their water treatment facility. This includes the construction of a 250,000-gallon elevated storage tank; installation of new water line transmission main, and the expansion of the plant's high-service pumping, associated piping and equipment. These improvements will extend the useful life of the facility, improve service to customers and accommodate future growth within the service area. The completion of this project will benefit 1,210 rural residents.
- Hawley Water Supply Corporation is receiving a $2,582,000 loan and $1,425,600 grant to make capital improvements to their facility. This includes upsizing multiple distribution lines to increase water service pressure and improve system capacity. The Hawley Water Supply Corporation services 5,421 residents.
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.