A $100,000 low interest loan is the impetus the Southwest Rural Water Supply District needed to conduct a study on future expansion needs.
The district, which serves portions of Barry and McDonald counties, is the first to receive such a loan in the State of Missouri through a newly created Revolving Loan Fund administered by the National Rural Water Association. The program was established in conjunction with USDA Rural Development, which provided $4.7 million in loans and grant funds to begin construction on the local rural water supply system in 1998.
The latest $100,000 loan was made possible through the Southwest Rural Water Supply District's affiliation with the Missouri Rural Water Association. The money will be used to solicit community input and evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of an expansion project with the district's consulting engineer.
"The next step is to gather data to gauge where interest is for future connections and where the line needs to go," said Marvin Henningson, president of the district's board of directors. "Ads with survey forms will be in local newspapers in the next couple of weeks, and we encourage residents to respond to the ads if they are interested in connecting to the public water supply."
Residents will be asked to return their surveys quickly so the board knows how to proceed with the engineering aspects of the project.
"We hope to have the survey portion of the project completed in the next six to eight weeks," said Raelene McCurdy, district manager.
A recent hydraulic model, completed by Scott Consulting Engineering, of Springfield, revealed that the system's two existing deep wells and 150 miles of water main could accommodate new users throughout the district.
Currently, the district serves 550 water users within a 150-square-mile area.
If the public interest survey indicates that a project is viable, the District board will proceed with a preliminary engineering study. Funding alternatives will also have to be researched, McCurdy said.
The recently completed hydraulic study identified possible growth areas in the district. These include the area just north of the Arkansas line, unincorporated areas north of Exeter and Cassville and south of Butterfield and the Mineral Springs area.
Recent drought conditions have fueled new interest in the rural water system.
"We have had numerous inquiries and new connections generated by declining water levels in private wells, springs and ponds," said McCurdy.
Henningson is joined on the Southwest Rural Water Supply District Board of Directors by Marty Hall, Steve Knight, Donnie Treadwell and Jeff Barber.
Southwest Rural Water was formed in the early 1990s and construction on the water system began in 1998. Last year, 35 new users were connected to the system.
"We have had a steady increase in users each year," said McCurdy.
For more information on the Southwest Rural Water Supply District #1, call 847-4437.