NEWS POSTED 03/23/2017 – LETTER FROM BOARD PRESIDENT BRUCE EVANSMarch 23, 2017
With the President’s proposed budget eliminating all funding for the USDA Water and Wastewater Loan and Grant Program, there are growing concerns regarding the future of rural water. Bruce Evans, President of IRWA Board of Directors, has issued a letter to IRWA members to address this concern.
Dear Idaho Rural Water Association Members:
What a great spring conference we shared at the Riverside Hotel in Garden City. I was very pleased with initial reports that the vendor exhibit space was completely rented out and over 200 conference attendees participated.
During conference the IRWA Board of Directors learned about the proposed budget cuts sent to Congress from President Trump. Currently, the USDA -RD program funding shows proposed cuts which eliminate the water and wastewater grant and loan programs along with the funding for the Circuit Rider program. Further budget cuts are being proposed across the board to other agencies such as US – EPA which also impacts Idaho DEQ. Many of the Idaho employees from these different agencies are unsure about future funding regarding existing programs and impacts on staffing to their agencies.
NRWA is organizing a campaign to save the USDA-RD loan and grant program. At the appropriate time we will ask our membership to write and call our Congressional Representatives. Currently, IRWA needs stories from each system that describes how important the USDA-RD loan and grant, Circuit Rider, and Source Water Protection programs are to the State of Idaho and to your water/wastewater systems. These stories need to reflect the impact to your system if these programs are eliminated. Could your water/wastewater system afford to finance your proposed upgrades or expansion to your systems through a private bank? Could your system afford possible interest rate increases? Could your system support possible increases to your budgets if technical assistance were not available? Everyone can get involved, the Operator, Department Heads, City Clerks, Mayors, City Councilmembers, or Board members of each system.
IRWA is currently working on a proposed template to send out to all members for support letters.
Idaho Rural Water Association
At IRWA, we are doing all we can to protect our water and wastewater systems throughout Idaho, and are diligently following the progression of this budget. We will be posting new developments and details on how you can help protect rural water on our website, Facebook, and Twitter. Please follow us to stay connected and informed. Together, we can work to protect our rural communities.