The Water Well Trust, a national nonprofit helping Americans get access to a clean, safe water supply, received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Household Water Well Systems program for a project to increase potable water availability to rural households in Arkansas.
The USDA grant and matching funds from the Water Systems Council will be used to fund Water Well Trust projects in 12 Arkansas counties, including Benton, Boone, Carroll, Crawford, Jefferson, Madison, Marion, Montgomery, Searcy, Sebastian, Union and Washington.
The grant monies will provide long-term, low-interest loans to applicants seeking new or improved water wells in the targeted Arkansas counties. The Water Well Trust limits funding to a maximum of $11,000 per household. Loans have an interest rate of 1-percent with terms of up to 20 years.
To qualify for a WWT loan, applicants must be the owner and occupant of the home as their primary residence. In addition, the applicant's household income must not exceed 100 percent of the median non-metropolitan household income for the state in which the applicant resides. The income criteria applies to both the applicant and all other occupants of the home.
Prospective applicants can download the application form and instruction letter from the Water Well Trust website.
The Water Well Trust has been working with the office of Senator John Boozman (R-AR), already providing 30 wells to households in Arkansas without access to clean water as part of a previous USDA grant project. Following the completion of those wells in 2015, 30 Arkansas households remained on the Water Well Trust's waiting list; the 2018 USDA grant monies will be allocated to providing new wells for these families.
"Wells and well systems are a godsend to rural communities, providing quality drinking water at a reasonable price and increasing property values along the way," says Sen. Boozman. "Without the Water Well Trust, hard-working Arkansans would be unable to access clean and reliable drinking water in their homes."
This is the fifth USDA grant received by the Water Well Trust since 2014. In the past four years, USDA grant monies have been used to increase potable water availability to rural households in Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, New Mexico, New York and South Carolina.
The Water Well Trust is a 501(c)(3) organization created by the Water Systems Council and serves Americans living primarily in rural, unincorporated areas or minority communities that may be isolated and difficult to reach, assisting low income families that cannot afford to pay for public water supplies and those who live in areas where the extension of public water supplies to serve them doesn't make economic sense.