Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act over $615 million is going toward rural water projects that provide safe drinking water and improve wastewater treatment systems. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the 193 grants to communities in 34 states on Tuesday.
"These projects are important in and of themselves," Vilsack said. "They are important because they are helping to save jobs, they are helping to create jobs, they're investing in rural communities, they're protecting the environment, and they are focused on one of our precious resources."
These projects are expected to create or save more than 12,000 jobs. Most of these projects are part of the backlog of Rural Development applications and Vilsack says it is important that strategies are used to stretch dollars as far as possible and by doing a good job encourage Congress to recognize the important role water plays in Rural Development.
"The Obama Administration is going to make a concerted effort at improving the quality and quantity of water," Vilsack said. "We recognize that some areas it's about water shortages and other areas it's about quality water. This is an indication that we are willing to invest in water and it's also about stimulating the economy by putting people back to work and doing the work that American's want done and also creating an opportunity for future growth and development by building basic infrastructure."
For more information about the USDA's Recovery Act efforts, visit www.usda.gov/recovery.