WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) recently reintroduced bipartisan legislation to provide rural communities under economic strain with expanded assistance to repair, modernize and renovate failing water infrastructure. The Assistance for Rural Water Systems Act would grant the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) additional authorities to provide low- and zero-interest loans, loan forgiveness and loan refinancing to help struggling rural water systems and wastewater systems across the nation.
“Rural water and wastewater systems across North Carolina often lack the financial capacity and resources to maintain affordable rates for their customers and make necessary improvements to their systems,” said Senator Tillis. “I am proud to work with Senator Shaheen to introduce bipartisan legislation that will provide USDA with much-needed tools and flexibilities to ensure our rural water utilities can continue to provide safe and affordable services for rural families and businesses in North Carolina and across the country.”
As the financial impacts continue in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, small rural water systems continue to face enormous challenges. The Assistance for Rural Water Systems Act would allow rural communities to make necessary improvements and repairs to critical water infrastructure and ensure residents of these rural communities continue to have access to clean drinking water and wastewater treatment services.
The legislation is supported by the National Rural Water Association and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership.