In the wake of the Flint, Michigan crisis, many counties and municipalities are securing funds to invest in their own water infrastructure. While the instances of contaminated water supplies are tragic, it has encouraged cooperation among federal and local governments to prevent such instances from occurring again. Without federal funds, other local government leaders are devising ways to generate the necessary revenue to maintain their water infrastructure.
Bland County, Virginia, has recently secured $2.4 million in USDA funds for water system improvements in its rural areas. $1 million of these funds came in the form of a grant while the remaining $1.4 million was provided through a low-interest loan. However, the savings in facility operations and maintenance are expected to be greater than the cost of loan repayments.
In Surry County, North Carolina, the county manager has proposed a reconfiguration of the water rates for consumers to increase revenue. The revenue would be used to better maintain and update the water infrastructure throughout the county.
Whether it is through cooperation or innovation, the improvement and proper maintenance of the water infrastructure is a nationwide concern.