The new project is located in Ben Hill County, where the existing public water supply infrastructure in the Queensland community is failing and the county cannot afford the estimated $600,000 price tag for repairs.
In 2013, the Water Well Trust completed a successful project in Jones County, Georgia, partnering with county government and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to bring safe drinking water to five low-income families near Milledgeville, GA.
Based on the success of that project, the Georgia DCA, which provided community development block grant funds for the Jones County project, recommended the Water Well Trust to Ben Hill County Administrator Frank Feild to provide a more economical solution for supplying 12 rural households with a safe water supply.
“With mounting costs associated with replacing aging infrastructure nationwide, it is imperative that local communities weigh all options when developing plans for providing new water supplies and assessing existing water service delivery,” said Steve Anderson, chairman of the Water Well Trust. “Choosing wells to provide drinking water in lieu of requiring households to connect to expensive centralized systems can save federal, state and local governments millions of dollars.”
For the Ben Hill County project, the Water Well Trust is providing financing for drilling eight new wells, which will serve 12 owner-occupied homes. The county is covering the cost to drill wells for two area churches and five rental homes owned by the churches that are located in the same area.
The total cost of the project is $81,200, with $51,200 being supplied by the Water Well Trust and $30,000 by the county. This is a cost savings to Ben Hill County of $518,500. The project is scheduled for completion in July 2014.
The National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation awarded the Water Well Trust a $10,000 grant for this project.