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Arkansas water infrastructure to see major improvements with $60 million investment

Arkansas – Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders recently announced a substantial $60 million funding initiative aimed at enhancing water infrastructure across Arkansas. This financial boost is designed to improve water, wastewater, and stormwater management systems throughout the state, reflecting a major step forward in ensuring sustainable and safe water services for all residents.

The funding package includes $55 million dedicated to various water-related infrastructure projects and an additional $5 million allocated to the Arkansas Rural Water Association. The latter will provide support to numerous water and wastewater systems, bolstering efforts to maintain and upgrade essential services. This move was ratified by the Arkansas Legislative Council (ALC) on June 21, 2024, underscoring the state government’s commitment to addressing critical water service needs.

Governor Sanders emphasized the significance of these investments, stating, “My administration has worked with our federal partners to appropriately put money into Arkansas’ water infrastructure development, and this announcement adds to that commitment. Every Arkansan deserves safe and accessible drinking water, and with this funding, we will move closer to that goal.”

Echoing the Governor’s sentiments, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward highlighted the essential nature of robust water and wastewater systems. “Water and wastewater infrastructure systems are critically important to the everyday lives of all Arkansans,” he noted. “We appreciate Governor Sanders’ consistent leadership on water issues and will work diligently to utilize these newly approved funds, as well as our existing programs and efforts, to meet water and wastewater needs across the state.”

The newly announced funds are part of a larger strategy under Governor Sanders’ administration, which has effectively administered over $2.5 billion for water development projects in all 75 counties of Arkansas. These projects are financed through a combination of state and federal funds, illustrating a comprehensive approach to infrastructure enhancement.

To qualify for the newly announced funding, water and wastewater projects must be listed on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) waitlist, which was approved by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) in December 2022. Funding allocation will be prioritized based on each project’s readiness to advance to the construction phase, with a strict deadline that all funds must be expended by December 31, 2026.

In addition to bolstering funding for infrastructure, Governor Sanders has initiated a thorough analysis and review of Arkansas’ State Water Plan. This review is intended to further refine the state’s strategy in managing its water resources effectively, ensuring that the infrastructure investments not only address current needs but also prepare for future challenges.

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