Well Water Trust extends its reach in Alabama Black Belt

Published 3:30 pm Thursday, May 7, 2020

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The Water Well Trust (WWT), a national nonprofit working to help low-income Americans get access to clean and safe water, recently announced that it is extending its reach in the region, now offering assistance to 15 Alabama counties for drilling new water wells or rehabilitating old wells.

“At this time in our country, and around the world, no one should be without water in their home,” said WWT Program Assistant Robin Spaniel.

The organization’s efforts previously reached 10 counties across the state, all of which are considered to be part of Alabama’s Black Belt – Barbour, Bullock, Dallas, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Montgomery, Perry, Pike and Wilcox counties – but now includes five additional Black Belt counties, including Butler, Conecuh, Clarke, Marengo and Monroe.

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In 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded the WWT a $300,000 matching grant for a project to increase potable water availability to households in the ten original counties served in the area – with the WWT’s recent announcements, the additional five counties are now eligible for assistance.

As part of the program, the WWT will loan up to a maximum of $11,000 per eligible household, with an interest rate of one percent and repayment terms of up to 20 years, for water system work.

To be eligible for WWT assistance, applicants must be the owner and occupant of the home in need of repair as their primary residence, which cannot be a new construction, and must not have access to a public water supply.

Additionally, the applicant’s household income must not exceed 100 percent of the median non-metropolitan household income for the area, which is currently $53,600 in Alabama, a provision that applies to all residents of the home.

Prospective applicants can request an application online at waterwelltrust.org or by contacting the organization at 202-625-4383 or via email at info@waterwelltrust.org.

The WWT was established in 2010 by the Water Systems Council as a way to provide clean, sanitary drinking water to Americans without access to a reliable water supply, as well as construct and document small community water systems using wells to demonstrate the system’s economic benefits.

Since 2014, the WWT has received six USDA grants, which have been used to increase potable water availability to rural households in states across the country, including Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, New Mexico and New York.