The Water Well Trust, a national nonprofit helping low-income Americans get access to a clean, safe water supply, has announced that it is expanding from seventeen to nineteen the number of Alabama counties eligible to receive assistance for drilling a new water well or the rehabilitation of an existing well.
In 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded a $300,000 matching grant to the Water Well Trust (WWT) for a project to increase potable water availability to households in rural Alabama counties, including Autauga, Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Chilton, Conecuh, Clarke, Dallas, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pike and Wilcox. The WWT has now expanded eligibility to another two counties: Tuscaloosa and Dale.
The Water Well Trust will loan up to a maximum of $11,000 per eligible household, with an interest rate of 1% and repayment terms of up to 20 years.
To qualify for a Water Well Trust loan, applicants must be the owner and occupant of the home as their primary residence, which cannot be new construction, and must not have access to a public water supply. The applicant’s household income must not exceed 100% of the median non-metropolitan household income for the state in which the applicant resides; in 2020 this is $53,600 for Alabama. The income criteria apply to both the applicant and all other occupants of the home.
This is the sixth USDA grant received by the Water Well Trust since 2014. In the past five years, USDA grant monies have been used to increase potable water availability to rural households in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina, New Mexico and New York.