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. Nebraska is the recipient of nearly $7 million.
“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, storm water 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 here today during the Water Pro Conference hosted by the National Rural Water Association. Below are the Nebraska investments USDA is making to improve infrastructure in rural communities:
The city of Ainsworth, Neb. will use a $1.27 million loan and $453,000 grant to reconstruct sewage lift stations and provide backup power to lift stations by installing generators. New radio read meters will be installed. Also, pipe linings will be upgraded, providing better service to more than 880 users.
The village of Alexandria, Neb. will use a $332,000 loan and a $357,000 grant to add an additional well to the water system and increase the size of water distribution main lines. The improvements will add both safety and efficiency to the water system for the village's 76 residents. The project was funded after completion of a report paid for with a $30,000 Rural Development Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households Grant.
The village of Wauneta, Neb. will use a $1.48 million loan and a $1.55 million grant to construct two wells with well houses to provide safe drinking water to 356 users. These new wells will replace two older wells. A 50,000-gallon ground storage tank will be constructed and a emergency backup generator will also be installed. Radio read meters will replace the existing meters.
The village of Western, Neb. will use a $1.03 million loan and a $463,000 grant to replace a sewage treatment facility with a land application lagoon system. Additional funding includes a $24,000 Rural Development Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households grant awarded in FY 2016.
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.