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Circuit Rider Program - Technical Assistance for Rural Water Systems

This program is in operation all year and does not require an application. See the How do we get started? section below for information on requesting Circuit Rider assistance.

What does this program do?

This program provides technical assistance to rural water systems that are experiencing day-to-day operational, financial or managerial issues. Rural water system officials may request assistance from the National Rural Water Association State Association or the local Rural Utilities Service office.  Rural Utilities Service staff may also request assistance on behalf of the system.

Who are the Circuit Riders?

  • Rural Utilities Service has contracted with the National Rural Water Association to provide Circuit Riders who are experienced in managing issues that may arise in the day-to-day operations of rural water systems.
  • Circuit Riders provide service in each U.S. State and Territory.
  • A list is available online of National Rural Water Association’s State Associations.  Visit a State Association’s website to contact the Circuit Riders in that state.  

What is an eligible project area?

  • To receive technical assistance under the Circuit Rider program, an entity must serve an area with population of 10,000 or less AND be either a public body, non-profit corporation, or Indian tribe with legal authority to own and operate the water facility. 
  • Check eligible addresses. Click on Water and Environmental Direct.

On what topics can the Circuit Rider assist?

  • Board training
  • Management/finance
  • Operation/maintenance
  • Water treatment
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Facility security
  • Loan application and reporting
  • Disaster/emergency assistance

Is there a time limit on the assistance?

Assistance is provided on an as-needed basis.

How do we get started?

How can I become a Circuit Rider?

You may visit www.nrwa.org for more information.

What governs this program?

  • A contract between the Rural Utilities Service and the National Rural Water Association.
  • Section 306(a)(22) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1926(a)(22), as amended.

Why does USDA Rural Development do this?

The program helps the Rural Utilities Service better meet statutory and regulatory oversight requirements for loans, loan guarantees and grants to rural water systems in need of short-term technical assistance.

There are no other additional requirements at the national level. If there are additional state-specific requirements they will be listed above.

Rural Utilities Service

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