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Funds Available for Water Projects


Published: Friday, August 10, 2018

The following is from Michael Dora, state director for the USDA Rural Development in Indiana.

Not long ago, the United States was a world leader in infrastructure investments. Federal and private funding helped even the most remote communities obtain electricity, running water and access to the rest of the world through telecommunications.

However, recent years have not followed the same trend, and too many rural communities have been left behind. The need for improvement is great, especially for rural water and wastewater systems.

To put this in perspective, the American Water Works Assn. estimates that more than $600 billion is needed over the next 20 years to upgrade our nation's water and wastewater systems. Unfortunately, many small and rural water systems lack access to affordable financing.

But there is hope for the future. This year, USDA Rural Development has more than $4 billion in direct loans available now to help rural communities build or upgrade water infrastructure. This is a substantial increase from last year. In 2017, USDA helped more than 2.5 million rural residents get access to upgraded water and wastewater systems. I am excited to see how many more people we can help with this unprecedented funding opportunity.

I encourage rural community leaders and water district operators to apply now for this assistance before the Sept. 30 deadline. USDA state and field offices are great resources to use during the application process, and we have technical assistance providers with water and waste expertise that can help complete rural communities' applications.

USDA's support for rural water infrastructure is already making a big impact. In Indiana, we have utilized the water and environmental programs with much success. For example, our agency recently awarded the town of North Judson funding totaling $4,892,000 to convert a portion of the town's combined sewer collection system into separate sanitary and storm sewers. The town is currently under an agreed order with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. This project is part of the town's Long-Term Control Plan and is the result of a Rural Development Pre-planning Grant; and awarded the town of Kingman funding totaling $3,135,000 to upgrade a wastewater collection system and treatment plant. The system serves the 484 residents of the town and is dealing with health and sanitary issues.

Water districts and rural communities can apply for USDA loans electronically using the interactive RD Apply tool, you can contact me directly at michael.dora@in.usda.gov or 317/295-5760, or reach out to one of our field staff.

USDA is eager to partner with you in this effort to modernize water infrastructure in our state's rural communities.

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