Funding Will Expand Access to Clean Water and Dependable Electric Power in People’s Homes and Businesses in Rural Colorado

DENVER, Colo., Dec. 16, 2021 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is investing $226.8 million to build and improve critical rural infrastructure in rural Colorado. The investments reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to Building a Better America by investing in rural communities and will help expand access to high-speed internet, clean water and reliable electricity in people’s homes and businesses across rural America. Today’s announcement is part of a nationwide announcement of  $5.2 billion in 46 states and Puerto Rico.

“When we invest in rural infrastructure, we invest in the livelihoods and health of people in rural America,” Vilsack said. “Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is committed to Building a Better America by investing in America’s rural infrastructure, expanding access to broadband, clean drinking water and resilient power infrastructure. The investments we are announcing today will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come.”

This announcement follows the recent passage of President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development’s programs are helping people, businesses and communities address critical infrastructure needs to help rural America build back better. 

“This is exactly the type of investment we want and need in rural Colorado. Infrastructure improvement is a successful strategy to facilitate economic development and quality of life enhacement in rural communities. Agriculture receives value from good infrastructure development, rural residents benefit from improved infrastructure implementation, and local businesses profit from quality infrastructure investment. This is a net benefit for rural communities. And, Rural Development is the partner to help get these projects done,” said USDA Rural Development Colorado State Director Armando Valdez.

In Colorado, $26,850,600 was invested through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. Projects included:

  • The Town of Aguilar will construct an augmentation reservoir utilizing a $5,793,000 loan and grant combination.  The reservoir is to replace out-of-priority stream depletions caused by the pumping of the Town’s alluvial wells as the Town’s water supply. This reservoir will protect the senior water rights of downstream users.  Once complete this rural community of 538 people will have access to safe drinking water.
  • In Northern Colorado, Aristocrat Ranchettes Water Project, Inc. will modernize the community’s water system with the assistance of a $8,532,000 loan and grant from Rural Development. Currently they are purchasing water from the Central Weld County Water District and are not being providing raw water or water treatment.  The new project will improve service for existing users, remedy issues experienced by incoming users and ensure the 1,344 residents has access to potable water as their community grows.
  • The Morrison Creek Metro Water & Sanitation District in Oak Creek will replace the district’s wastewater treatment plant using a $7,999,000 loan and grant. The current plant was built in 1973 and cannot be serviced. The new facility will allow for redundancy and have the capacity to for future growth.
  • North La Junta Sanitation District will be constructing a new wastewater treatment plant in Southeastern Colorado through a $4,526,600 loan and grant. The project will construct a new evaporative pond system and decommission the old lagoons. Once complete, customers of the district will have wastewater treatment that meets State requirements for years to come.

Additionally, CoBank received a $200,000,000 loan from the Rural Utilities Service Electric Program’s Guarantee Underwriting Program to guarantee payments on bonds or notes for electric utility infrastructure loans or refinance bonds/notes issued for electric utility infrastructure. CoBank is one of four banks of the Farm Credit System that was created by the U.S. Congress to fill a need for long-term agricultural credit. CoBank is cooperatively owned by its U.S. customer-owners, including agricultural cooperatives, rural energy, companies, and financial institutions that serve rural America.

Background

Vilsack highlighted five investments in rural Colorado that USDA is making in two programs designed to help people access clean water and dependable electric power. These programs are the Electric Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program and the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. The investments announced today will support rural infrastructure projects in Las Animas, Otero, Routt, and Weld Counties in Colorado.  

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information in Colorado, visit www.rd.usda.gov/co.

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.