In October 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded a $140,000 matching grant to the Water Well Trust through its Household Water Well Systems Grant. Now the nonprofit is getting to work and recently completed the first of 19 wells it plans to drill or rehab in northwest Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. The effort is meant to increase potable water availability to rural households.
The first well for the project was finished in January in Chester, Ark. It brought full access to clean drinking water to a disabled homeowner and his two children. Before their new water well was installed, the family pumped water from a pond for showers, dishes, laundry and toilets. “Sometimes we run out of drinking water and I don’t have gas in my pickup to haul water, so we have to do without drinking water,” he said.
In 2012, the Water Well Trust supplied clean drinking water to six families near Rogers, Ark. For more than 15 years, they too had been hauling water for use in their homes. After reading about that project, the family in Chester, Ark. Contacted the Water Well Trust for help.
The Water Well Trust has limited funds available for low-interest loans to eligible households in need of a new water well or rehabilitation of an existing well. The next USDA project water well is expected to be completed in February near Rogers, Ark. When completed, the entire project covering parts of northwest Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma will serve an estimated 145 people in the high-need, low-resource rural area.
To learn more about the Water Well Trust or apply for a low-interest loan, visit www.waterwelltrust.org.