Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the award of two grants to help rural water and sewer utilities recover from recent and future natural disasters.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the award of two grants to help rural water and sewer utilities recover from recent and future natural disasters.

“USDA is a strong partner in the long-term recovery of rural communities after a season of devastating hurricanes,” Perdue said. “These grants will provide resources rural communities need to assess damage, develop rebuilding plans and get access to technical assistance and clean water. USDA is standing with these affected communities every step of the way.”

USDA is awarding the National Rural Water Association (NRWA) and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) each a $500,000 grant. The funding is being provided through the Water and Waste Disposal Technical Assistance and Training Grant program in USDA Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Programs (WEP).

NRWA and RCAP will use the grants to provide training and technical assistance, onsite repairs, and utility management advice for rural water and sewer utilities impacted by disasters. These utilities serve communities that have 10,000 people or less. Many of them have very limited capacity after a catastrophic event to access immediate assistance for assessment and restoration. USDA’s assistance helps these small utilities recover faster and enables first responders, rural citizens and businesses to have access to clean water.

“We’ve seen what natural disasters can do to a community. Recovering after such disastrous occurrences requires hands-on partnership, dedication and as much assistance as possible,” said Missouri State Director Jeff Case. “Rural Development is committed to providing support to communities in need of clean water and technical assistance. We are proud to be a partner in helping areas on their road to recovery.”

The grants also will be used to help rural utilities apply for Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) disaster programs, file insurance recovery claims and strengthen operations and continuity of service plans in times of emergencies. Technical assistance will include assisting new and returning Rural Development WEP funding recipients to prepare applications for water and waste disposal loans and grants and other financing options to supplement their needs.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/mo .