NEWS: DRA provides emergency funding to deliver safe drinking water to rural Louisiana town

July 13, 2017

Residents living under ‘immediate risk to life and health’

JENA, LA – The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is investing $300,000 to deliver clean and safe drinking water to more than 1,000 residents and businesses on the Nebo Water System. DRA approved emergency funding for the project, which will replace a damaged water tank. 

Nebo Water System’s tank has deteriorated and “created an immediate risk to life and health,” the system noted in its funding application. There is now a boil advisory in the LaSalle Parish community, and the Louisiana National Guard has been providing water to area residents and businesses. 

Local business operations also are being disrupted. For example, the local convenience store/restaurant cannot provide the food, beverages or ice that residents need. The community’s four churches and one school facility typically provide meals, beverages and ice for events, but can no longer do so under current conditions. The community pool has been closed.

“It’s very important that any issues preventing the Nebo Water System from producing good quality water for families, individuals, schools and businesses be resolved,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “DRA’s emergency funding investment clearly demonstrates the agency’s ability to act quickly to help deliver clean and safe water to rural communities in Louisiana and across the Delta Region. This funding will allow work to begin immediately to install a new water tank and restore better drinking water to the area.”  
 
DRA is providing 100% of the funding for the new tank. The money is part of DRA’s Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF), which was established in 2016 to enhance support for local infrastructure, workforce, and small businesses in the Mississippi River Delta Region and Black Belt of Alabama.

DRA funding resolves an immediate health emergency by providing the Nebo Water System with the ability to bid out and construct a replacement tank. 

“Safe drinking water is vital to the health of every community, and DRA’s investment in the Nebo Water System highlights our commitment to improving the quality of life in rural communities,” DRA Chairman Chris Masingill said. “This type of investment helps ensure that the Delta Region has the infrastructure in place to provide clean and safe drinking water for residents.” 

Since its founding, DRA has provided water and sewer service to more than 66,000 residents. 

“Everyone should have access to safe drinking water,” said Sen. John Kennedy.  “The Louisiana National Guard has stepped in to provide bottled water to the residents of Jena, but a more permanent solution is needed.  I want to thank the DRA for providing that permanent solution.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy also noted the importance of DRA’s investment. “Louisiana’s rural communities are substantial contributors to our state’s overall economy. This secured investment from the DRA will help local businesses continue to flourish and restore a healthy lifestyle for LaSalle Parish’s citizens,” said Dr. Cassidy.

“The residents who rely on the Nebo Water System need to know that the drinking water is safe for them and their families,” said U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, M.D. “I appreciate the DRA’s investment in this community to help provide the clean, safe drinking water that the Nebo residents deserve.”


About The Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. To date, the DRA’s SEDAP investments, together with its state and local partners, have leveraged federal resources into nearly $3.5 billion in public and private investment into local small business owners, entrepreneurs, workforce improvement, and infrastructure development projects. DRA investments have helped to create and retain more than 37,000 jobs, train more than 7,300 workers for 21st Century jobs, and deliver water and sewer improvements to more than 66,000 residents. Learn more at dra.gov.

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Media Contact:
Andrew Moreau
202-744-3558
amoreau@dra.gov