U.S. Water News Online
BOSTON -- The Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) has approved a $30 million, two-year pilot program designed to financially assist MWRA communities in rehabilitating their local water infrastructure systems. The program is structured as a 25 percent grant/75 percent interest-free loan financing package.
While water infrastructure rehabilitation programs are underway in many communities, there is a large number of backlogged projects due to competing demands for municipal funding. Recent estimates show over $1 billion is needed for water infrastructure projects in MWRA water communities.
Over the next decade, MWRA will be making many capital improvements to its waterworks system by building a new water transmission tunnel, treatment plant, and covered storage facilities. MWRA will also move forward on various pipeline rehabilitation projects. These projects, which will strengthen both water delivery and water quality, can only be thoroughly effective if the communities upgrade components of their local distribution systems as well, according to MWRA.
"Our expectation is that this financing will supplement local funding and increase levels of investment in most local water systems," said MWRA Executive Director Doug MacDonald. "Efforts by local water departments to improve or maintain water pipeline conditions in over 6,700 miles of municipally-owned water distribution pipes will help customers reap the full benefits of improved MWRA water quality and services. We hope that many cities and towns will take full advantage of this opportunity."
Financial assistance will be allocated starting July, 1997 among the 46 water communities based on their percent share of MWRA's wholesale water assessment for the FY94-FY96 period. Eligible projects include pipeline rehabilitation and replacement, valve replacement, lead service replacement, retail meter replacement, storage tank maintenance, and local water supply source protection projects. Communities will be free to set their own priorities and select projects for funding under this program.
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