Rural Arizona to get $25 million for water infrastructure projects

Four rural communities across Arizona will be getting much-needed modernization projects for aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure to improve their drinking water quality and supply and make water usage more efficient in the era of climate change.  

The Trump Administration announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $891 million to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in 43 states including Arizona. A total of 220 projects will help improve rural water infrastructure for 787,000 residents in communities with populations of 10,000 or less. 

“When rural America thrives, all of America thrives,” USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand said in making the announcement. “Upgrading water infrastructure provides a path to economic growth and protects the health and safety of people who live and work in rural areas.”

In Arizona, aged and failing water systems will be updated in Pine-Strawberry, Mammoth, Bouse and Aguila. The projects are being funded through the federal Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. The program provides funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and stormwater drainage to households and businesses in eligible rural areas. 

The projects slated for Arizona are:

Pine-Strawberry water improvement district, Gila County The biggest of the four projects is the Pine-Strawberry Improvement District that is receiving a $22.5 million loan to make improvements to the water system to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency water regulations. Improvements will include the rehabilitation and construction of wells, replacement of six water main projects, a new supervisory control and data acquisition system, and more. 

Mammoth, Pinal County The town of Mammoth is receiving a $500,000 loan for the first phase of construction and improvements to repair and replace failing infrastructure and system deficiencies caused by aging infrastructure and deferred maintenance, and to cure health, sanitation and security issues. Among the improvements will be the replacement of all the asbestos-cement pipelines in the system with new polyvinyl chloride pipelines, installation of new hydropneumatic tanks at town wells, and more. 

Bouse Domestic Water Improvement District, La Paz County A $400,000 loan and a $2.98 million grant will upgrade the Bouse water district’s water system to meet Arizona Department of Environmental Quality standards. Undersized water lines are being replaced with larger ones and the water system upgraded with drive-by meters, a new water treatment system for arsenic removal, a new operations building, a new well, development of a 70,000-gallon water storage tank, and more. 

Aguila water system,  Maricopa County Berry Utilities, Inc. is receiving $953,000 to acquire the Aguila Water Service water system and make repairs and upgrade the system to promote efficiency to avoid having to seek additional water sources, promote water conservation, and continue to provide reliable local service for the community of Aguila, an unincorporated area in Maricopa County. 

A bipartisan group of Arizona congressional members helped secure the legislation that includes more than $25 million for much-needed projects in Arizona. Arizona congressional members who co-sponsored the legislation were senators Kyrsten Sinema (D) and Martha McSally (R) and representatives Raúl Grijalva (D) and Paul Gosar (R).

Victoria Harker

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