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This report details the results of an assessment that is as part of a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to document the state of water and wastewater availability in the colonias and make recommendations to address the remaining needs.
Communities Unlimited led the on-the-ground assessment efforts, in collaboration with the Center for Advanced Spatial technologies at the University of Arkansas (CAST), the Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP, Inc.)
Existing sources of data related to the colonias were identified and compiled into a geospatial database, with extensive interviews then conducted with state and county officials, utilities serving colonias, engineers and colonia residents to complete a comprehensive assessment of 2,177 colonias. Of those evaluated, 604 are high-needs colonias with a combined population of 134,419. High-needs colonias are typically unserved or underserved with respect to drinking water, wastewater, or both. In many, residents face known health risks from the lack of adequate water or wastewater service.
Communities Unlimited was formed when two nonprofits with shared values but different strategies saw what they had in common--their commitment to making a difference in rural and underserved communities. And the power of change lies in working TOGETHER.
Guides for Small Water/Wastewater Systems
These individual reference guides are intended to assist local decision makers working with small, rural community water systems. Subjects range from an overview of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to guides created to help boards of directors address planning, financing, operating, and other day-to-day decisions.
Click on a title below to access a publication:
Additional titles available from our national network, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership include:
- The Big Guide for Small Systems: A Resource for Board Members
- The Basics of Financial Management for Small-community Utilities
- Formulate Great Rates: The Guide to Conducting a Rate Study for a Water System
- Getting Your Project to Flow Smoothly: A Guide to Developing Water and Wastewater Infrastructure
- Sustainable Infrastructure for Small System Public Services: A Planning and Resource Guide
- USDA Rural Utilities Service Borrower's Guide: A How-to for Water and Wastewater Loans from USDA RD
- ARRA Registering and Reporting Guide for Water/Wastewater Systems with Loans/Grants from USDA-RUS
- A Drop of Knowledge: The Non-operator's Guide to Drinking Water Systems
- A Drop of Knowledge: The Non-operator's Guide to Wastewater Systems
- Protecting Water Quality by Optimizing the Operations and maintenance of Distribution Systems