Mar. 16, 2018 - Last month, WEF and other water sector leaders reached out to House and Senate Appropriators asking for an increase in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Rural Development Water and Wastewater Loan and Grant Program in the Fiscal Year 2019 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.

Specifically, the letter requests $650 million for grants and $2 billion for loans. This increase in funding will help alleviate the over $3 billion backlog in applications from eligible rural communities across the country.   Since the inception of this program, and with the help of our national organizations, USDA has been able to expand water service to thousands of small communities and rural areas – often for the first time. 

Every single dollar from this program has gone directly to rural customers and has significantly improved the public health and safety of small community water systems throughout the United States. Because of these rural water infrastructure investments, economic development and agricultural advancement has grown in rural communities.

Congress has long recognized the value of USDA’s Water and Wastewater Loan and Grant Program, and has consistently supported funding to help small communities improve existing infrastructure, protect their drinking water resources, and comply with federal drinking water regulations. More than 98% of rural Americans receive their drinking water from small systems and the cost of operating and maintaining these systems is significantly higher than that for urban areas.

To read more about the Program, click here.

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This Week in Washington is an online news portal from the Water Environment Federation that provides updates on the latest legislative and regulatory developments that affect the water and wastewater communities. It provides concise reports of related bills, regulations, legal decisions, congressional hearings, and other federal government actions, following key issues from introduction to final determination.

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This Week in Washington is compiled by the WEF Government Affairs department. Please contact us with any questions or comments.

Claudio Ternieden
Senior Director of Government Affairs & Strategic Partnerships

Steve Dye
Legislative Director

Amy Kathman
Government Affairs Specialist