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White House Proposed Budget Cuts Endanger Rural Water & Wastewater Programs

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 20, 2017

On Thursday, the White House’s fiscal 2018 budget blueprint contained a 21 percent cut to USDA’s discretionary spending. This proposed budget would eliminate the USDA water and wastewater loan and grant program, as well as the water circuit rider program, wastewater training and technical assistance program, and energy efficiency assessment program. These programs have been the lifeline for rural water and small communities in Texas and across Rural America.

Instead, the Administration is placing its confidence with the EPA State Revolving Loan Funds. Approximately 75 percent of State Revolving Loan funding goes to systems serving over 10,000 population. Additionally, in Texas, these funds are primarily allocated to systems with compliance issues, so the larger community of rural water systems would not be able to rely solely on these funds for support.

 

There are approximately 52,000 community water supplies in the nation, of which 92 percent serve less than 10,000 population. In 2016, USDA Rural Utilities Service dedicated their funding exclusively to Rural America — 85 percent of projects were for small communities, with populations of 5,000 or less. The USDA Water and Environmental Program is a vital lifeline for rural residents funding the water infrastructure we rely on today.

 

We urge systems who have utilized any of these programs to get involved. If you have received or plan to receive funding from the USDA for infrastructure projects, benefit from your visits with your circuit rider, or rely on the expertise of our wastewater technicians, then please reach out to your congressional representatives. Tell them that investing in these USDA programs will forward the President’s mission to address the nation’s aging infrastructure in rural communities. Let them know that these programs have been effective for 70 years, that your system relies on them for financial and technical support, and that eliminating them would be detrimental for rural America. Visit http://whoismyrepresentative.com if you need help identifying your representative.

 

Established in 1969, the Texas Rural Water Association is a statewide nonprofit association dedicated to the improvement of water quality and supply in rural Texas. With an active membership consisting of nearly 750 nonprofit water supply corporations, special utility districts, municipal utility districts, small-town water departments, investor-owned utilities and individual members, TRWA members provide water and wastewater service to over 2.5 million customers throughout the state. The Association supports these members by providing them with on-site technical assistance, education and informational programs and representation in legislative and regulatory processes at both the state and federal level.  

Tags:  drink local water  funding  legislature  quality on tap  rural texas  rural water  Texas water  TRWA  USDA  water quality 

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