USDA Rural Development Loan & Grant Program


Small towns and rural communities need modern, reliable infrastructure to thrive specifically to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. When these systems are updated, you will find economic development and job growth. The USDA loan and grant program helps very small, financially distressed rural communities extend and improve water and waste treatment facilities that serve local households and businesses. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, community services such as schools, public safety and health care, and high-speed internet access in rural areas. It can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

How to Apply

USDA’s Rural Utility Service has streamlined the application process through an electronic form, RD Apply, for this funding, in the form of affordable low-interest loans and grants, to be specifically utilized by small communities and rural areas.

Loan and grant funding has been pooled for reallocation back to State Rural Development Offices. Now is the time to contact your State Rural Development Office to build, upgrade and/ or expand water and wastewater systems.


Congress provided U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with $4 billion last year and another $1.9 billion this year to assist with water and wastewater infrastructure in rural communities under 10,000 population.

Congress heard Rural Water’s voices and concerns and responded accordingly with significant increases over the historic funding levels. The current interest rates for the direct loan at a 40-year term is affordable and allows reasonable upgrades and modifications that could potentially save utilities money and provide for a sustainable future for rural America.


The application time and process can seem challenging. However, State Associations have trained staff to directly assist utilities through the entire application process. NRWA has identified over 100 non-federal actions that can be directly performed at no-cost to the utility. Please contact your Rural Water State Association for direct assistance.

A Proven Success

For over 70 years, the USDA Water and Waste Water Loan and Grant program has been the most effective mechanism for funding the majority of the nation’s rural water and waste water infrastructure. The USDA Water and Waste Water Loan and Grant Program puts rural Americans first-100% of USDA Water and Waste loans are awarded to rural systems to serve communities of 10,000 people or less.

Since 2009

  • 20,660,852 rural residents received new or improved water and waste disposal service
  • 207,742 new households and business connected
  • $14.5 Billion invested to build new or improved infrastructure
  • 730,761 technical assistance visits to help rural systems and communities