Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2017 - 42
Advocating for Investment in Rural Infrastructure
In February, the National Rural Water Association
joined #RebuildRural, a coalition of over 200 organizations from
across the country encouraging President Donald J. Trump to
prioritize rebuilding infrastructure in rural America.
"Those of us in rural communities have seen our infrastructure
deteriorate, jeopardizing jobs, our agricultural competitiveness
and the health of rural families," the coalition wrote in a letter to
the President. "Our deteriorating infrastructure
threatens our leadership position."
NRWA joined the effort as a way to bring
greater support to its over 31,000 utility
memberships, which supply drinking water and
wastewater service in all 50 states. Rural Water
has continually advocated for investment in the
small water systems that supply clean, affordable
drinking water to their communities, and the wastewater facilities
that protect the public health and the environment.
Rural America is known to be the primary supplier of our
nation's food and energy stocks, but is also the primary source
of the volunteers that serve in the U.S. military. The rural
communities that supply these invaluable resources cannot thrive
without clean, reliable water and wastewater services, and their
need is great.
"The scope of the investment needed is staggering," the
coalition letter said. "Clearly the federal government must continue
to play an important role in providing funding and those federal
investments should increase."
USDA Rural Development has been the federal government's
best tool for assisting rural communities. This agency provided
financial support to rural communities through loan, loan
guarantee and grant programs that provide affordable financing
for water and wastewater projects. Any federal investment
in rebuilding rural infrastructure should include fully-funding
The letter then states that federal investment will likely
be insufficient, and that creative solutions will be needed to
make the necessary progress. The Rural Water industry has
always embraced creative solutions and NRWA was founded
to maximize the limited resources available to small utilities.
Rural Water trains over 80,000 water professionals a year and
makes over 55,000 on-site assistance visits, ensuring that
every dollar spent by small utilities has the maximum benefit
for their communities.
Rural Water stands ready to support these efforts to provide
the best water and wastewater service in the world to rural
families, rural business and rural communities. ●
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06/02/17 10:53 pm