Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $392 million to help rebuild and improve rural water and wastewater infrastructure in 42 states.
“Put simply, modern and reliable water infrastructure is foundational to quality of life and economic development,” Hazlett said. “USDA’s partnerships with rural communities underscore Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s commitment to rural people and the places they call home.”
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.
Hazlett announced the awards during the Water Pro Conference hosted by the National Rural Water Association being held in Fort Worth, Texas. Below is an example of an Indiana investment USDA is making to improve infrastructure in rural communities:
The City of Petersburg is receiving a $9,230,000 loan to improve the water source, treatment, and storage of the City of Petersburg Water Utility System. The current Water Treatment Plant has outlived its useful life and is in poor condition. With current Indiana Department of Environmental Management treatment requirements, the City is looking to construct a new Treatment Plant that can better meet water demands and regulatory requirements. The City will also add an additional well at the current well-field to insure supply of water for future demands. One additional elevated storage tank will be added to the two existing storage tanks to insure water supply for the customer base. With the completion of I-69 south of the City, anticipated economic development is being planned for future growth. Any development will look to improve the economic well-being for the community. Due to the fact that Petersburg sells water to the community of Otwell as well as the regional water system Pike-Gibson Water, the improvements at the well-field and Water Treatment Plant will serve a much larger area of the region than Petersburg and the immediate surrounding connections. This project is the result of $28,500 Rural Development Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households grant.
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.