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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release June 27, 1997


Funds Will Aid 84 Projects in 43 States and Puerto Rico

Vice President Al Gore announced today (6/27) $112.4 million for safe drinking water projects for rural Americans, representing the largest action to date under the Administration's Water 2000 initiative.

"It's hard to imagine but, even in 1997, millions of Americans raise their families without a resource as basic and as necessary as safe drinking water," the Vice President said in a White House ceremony. "But it shouldn't be this way. Turning on the kitchen faucet shouldn't tap a parent's deepest anxieties. So today, we take an important step to do better."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will invest the $112.4 million in loans and grants to 84 safe-drinking water projects in 43 states and Puerto Rico. That investment will leverage another $35.2 million from non-USDA federal, state, and local sources. Since launching Water 2000 in August 1994, USDA has invested over $1 billion in loans and grants to over 900 communities in all 50 states.

Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said, "Water 2000 is a key part of our commitment to invest in rural America -- to improve the quality of life, protect public health and safety, and foster economic sustainability. When I visit rural areas and talk to the families and business owners who have benefitted from this program, I know that the Clinton Administration is making a difference in these rural communities."

USDA estimates that 2.5 million rural Americans face serious problems arising from poor water quality and availability, including almost one million with no running water at home. Another estimated 5.6 million Americans have significant needs under Safe Drinking Water Act requirements, including undersized or poorly protected water sources, a lack of adequate storage facilities, and antiquated distribution systems.

Water 2000 is administered by USDA's Rural Development mission area, which delivers programs designed to strengthen local economies, build affordable housing, and expand infrastructure in rural areas.