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USDA Partners with Local Rural Communities to Improve Water and Wastewater Infrastructure in 42 States

Name
Justin Wilkes
City
Jackson
Release Date
Sep 17, 2018

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $392 million to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure in 42 states.

   “These investments will support modern, reliable water infrastructure, which is a foundation for rural economic growth and prosperity,” Hazlett said. “USDA’s partnerships with rural communities underscore Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s commitment to ensure that rural areas remain attractive places to live and work.”  

   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 provide funding for these projects.

   Hazlett announced the awards here today during the Water Pro Conference hosted by the National Rural Water Association. The following projects were funded in Mississippi:

  • The Bigfield Water Association in Marks received a total of $902,000 in loans and grants that will be used to connect three water utilities through the construction of distribution lines.A pressure storage tank will also be installed, along with a generator and fence. This project will allow for better, more reliable water service for the 248 customers of the three systems.Additional funds for this project will come from a Community Development Block Grant.      

  • The Crooked Creek Water Association in New Hebron received a total of $3,470,000 in loans and grants, which will be used to construct two new water supply wells, install radio read meters for all connections, a monitoring and control system, emergency generators for the wells, and water distribution system replacements as needed. These improvements will reduce water loss in a system that serves 918 customers.

   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.

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