Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced funding for rural water projects to create jobs and improve rural water and wastewater systems in 26 states. The announcement was made on Secretary Vilsack's behalf by Jonathan Adelstein, USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Administrator.

"Clean water is a basic necessity for the health and economic growth of our rural communities," Vilsack said. "Constructing and improving rural water systems benefit communities by providing reliable access to clean water and create jobs that strengthen economies."

For example, the Town of Marion, Miss., will receive $3.7 million to provide sewer treatment for residents of rural Lauderdale County. USDA funds will be used to install approximately 14 miles of sewer lines and three lift stations for sewer treatment at reasonable rates and terms. In addition to directly benefitting the thousands of residents in that county, this project is a catalyst necessary for economic development in that county.

In Texas, Skywater Water Supply Corporation in Castro County will receive $1 million to build a new water system. The existing system was shut down in 2009 when the wells failed, forcing residents to haul water over 10 miles. The funds will also be used to build storage facilities and four miles of new distribution line to benefit rural residents.

The $66.7 million in loans and $48.9 million in grants are provided by USDA to help rural communities build and upgrade rural water systems. RUS funding will provide thousands of new connections to water and wastewater facilities, improve water quality and increase the efficiency of water use, while reducing reduce . Funding for distribution cooperatives, which provide power to consumers, will benefit over 15,000 rural businesses and residents. For a complete list of projects funded, click here.

The announcement is part of a series of rural infrastructure investments expected by Vilsack during the next two weeks. This effort supports the goal of the American Jobs Act, which makes critical infrastructure improvements to put people back to work immediately.

Source: USDA