$60 million in federal funds available for Arkansas water projects

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 193 views 

image from the City of Fort Smith

About $60 million will be spent on statewide water and infrastructure needs. The funds are part of the American Rescue Plan that was passed by Congress in 2021.

Gov. Sarah Sanders said $55 million will be used on water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure projects and $5 million for the Arkansas Rural Water Association to assist water and wastewater systems across the state. The legislature approved the funds in Arkansas Legislative Council (ALC) late last month.

“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,” she said.

No member of Arkansas’ Congressional delegation voted for the federal legislation that provided funding for the water projects.

“Water and wastewater infrastructure systems are critically important to the everyday lives of all Arkansans,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “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.”

About $2.5 billion has been doled in recent years for water development projects in all 75 counties using state and federal funds.

To be eligible for the funding, water and wastewater projects must be on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) waitlist approved by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) in December 2022. Projects will receive funding based on their readiness to proceed to construction and must expense all funds by December 31, 2026.