USDA Rural Development celebrated Earth Day by announcing financial support for the city of La Cygne’s water distribution system improvement project.
“As we celebrate Earth Day, many small communities are dealing with combined effects of drought and declining tax revenues. There is no better time than Earth Day to begin working cooperatively to talk about ways to conserve water to ensure that all Kansans have access to safe drinking water,” said USDA Rural Development Community Programs Director Sháne Hastings. “USDA Rural Development continues to provide leadership and financial assistance to rural communities that are looking to improve their water and wastewater infrastructure.”
USDA is providing the funding for water and wastewater infrastructure projects through USDA Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Program (WEP). The WEP program helps small, rural communities improve water and waste treatment facilities that serve local households and businesses. On Earth Day, USDA Rural Development is awarding more than $112 million in grant and loans nationwide through the WEP program.
In Kansas, the city of La Cygne was selected for $5.672 million in financing to replace its water infrastructure. The city’s distribution system was constructed nearly 70 years ago and has deteriorated to a point where maintenance costs have become excessive. USDA funds will be used to repair the water distribution controls, electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems at the water treatment plant. The city will also replace approximately 64,100 linear feet of water distribution lines, connect 400 meters, and install 65 fire hydrants. Without the financial assistance of the federal government, residents in La Cygne would be paying nearly $25 more per month on their water bill. The project will benefit the city’s 1,152 residents.
La Cygne Mayor Terry Weitman stated that, “The current water distribution system isn’t sufficient for the size of the city, and we can’t move forward on other projects until we fix the underground infrastructure issues. We would like to thank USDA Rural Development for their financial and technical assistance that will give residents the best water distribution system available to help provide safe, affordable water for many years.”
Earth Day is observed annually on April 22 to raise awareness about what individuals can do to protect vital natural resources and safeguard the environment. Since the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, the event has greatly expanded. Today, citizens and governments in more than 195 countries participate in Earth Day events.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $206.2 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.