The Water Well Trust, the only national nonprofit helping Americans get access to a clean, safe water supply, announced that it has completed the first of 19 water wells it expects to drill or rehabilitate in northwest Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma to serve an estimated 145 individuals in this high-need, low-resource rural area.
In October 2014, the USDA awarded a $140,000 matching grant to the Water Well Trust through its Household Water Well Systems Grant program for a project to increase potable water availability to rural households in five northwest Arkansas counties — Franklin, Benton, Madison, Marion, and Crawford — as well as Sequoyah County in Oklahoma.
The first well for this project was completed in January for a household in Chester, Arkansas. The homeowner, a disabled man with two children, had been pumping water from a pond for showers, dishes, laundry and toilets. His daughter contacted the Water Well Trust after reading about the first project completed in the area in 2012. The homeowner’s situation was dire: “Sometimes we run out of drinking water and I don’t have gas in my pickup to haul water, so we have to do without drinking water.”
With the completion of the new water well, the homeowner now has full access to safe, clean drinking water. The second USDA project water well is expected to be completed in February near Rogers, Arkansas.
In 2012, the Water Well Trust completed a project to supply safe drinking water to six families near Rogers, Arkansas, which had been hauling water to use in their homes and buying bottled water for drinking and cooking for over 15 years. The cost for extending public water service, an estimated $1.2 million, was prohibitive for both the families and water suppliers. The final cost of this WWT project yielded a substantial cost savings for the community.
The Water Well Trust (WWT) has limited funds available for low-interest loans to eligible individual households in need of a new water well or rehabilitation of an existing water well. Prospective applicants can download the application form and instruction letter from the Water Well Trust website at waterwelltrust.org under “Apply” at the top of the home page.