The non-profit Water Well Trust has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Household Water Well Systems program to boost potable water access to rural homes in nine New Mexico counties.
The grant, along with matching funds, will be used in the following counties: Catron, Socorro, Grant, Sierra, Luna, Hildalgo, Dona Ana, Otera and Chaves. The counties include several non-zoned areas called “colonias,” which do not meet current building code standards. Many of these areas lack access to safe water and need improved water well systems. These counties also show high rates of poverty.
The grants will be used to provide long-term, low-interest loans to households seeing new or improved water wells in the target counties. Applicants could be eligible for up to $11,000 per household at an interest rate of 1 percent for up to 20 years. To qualify, a household must be an owner occupied primary residences, with a total household income that does not exceed 100 percent of the median non-metropolitan income for the state. For 2017 in New Mexico, that threshold is $52,300 for total household income.
Interested applicants can visit waterwelltrust.org and click "Apply" at the top of the home page.
The WWT will work with the office of Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and the New Mexico Groundwater Association on outreach in the targeted areas.
In the past three years, the WWT has also used USDA grants to do similar work in rural areas of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina and New York.
The Water Systems Council established the Water Well Trust in 2010 to provide clean, sanitary drinking water to Americans who lack access to a reliable water supply and to construct and document small community water systems using water wells to demonstrate that these systems are more economical. For more information, visit waterwelltrust.org.