Local communities in Idaho will be better able to quickly apply for and execute new upgrades to wastewater and drinking water systems in the coming years after Governor Brad Little directed funds this week to cover additional grants for their engineering and planning costs.
Governor Little recently announced he directed $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to administer additional planning grants to local communities.
“I’ve stated from the start that we would prioritize these federal relief funds for long-range investments that will benefit our grandchildren – the generation that will have to pay off the massive federal debt. Clean, reliable water sources are fundamental to the health and prosperity of Idaho citizens and businesses now and in the future,” Governor Little said. “Millions of dollars in new funding are available to local governments to significantly improve their water systems in the coming years but in order for them to access the funds, they need to start planning right now. These new planning grants help ensure communities across Idaho are in the best position possible to significantly upgrade the water systems we rely on.”
Idaho received $1.2 billion in ARPA state fiscal recovery funds, which can be used for local water projects. Little said he will seek legislative approval next session to devote additional funds toward new water projects, but under U.S. Treasury guidance the projects must be completed by the end of 2026.
That means local governments need to get their required engineering reports done as quickly as possible. The $2 million in new planning grants will be used to develop the engineering reports that identify the most cost-effective and environmentally sound method of upgrading a system to achieve and maintain compliance with state and federal standards.
The funding for the additional planning grants comes from an appropriation of $50 million from the ARPA State Fiscal Recovery Fund to the Idaho Division of Financial Management for the current fiscal year through the passage of House Bill 370.